Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

The ICE is Melting for Electric Transportation

2011 Nissan Leaf

George Harvey

In 2018, Elon Musk told the stockholders of Tesla that he wanted a huge bonus, $55 billion, if he could get the company’s market value to $1 trillion by 2028.1 Experts at The New York Times called the goal “laughingly impossible.” After less than four years, Musk’s “impossible” ten-year goal has been achieved, and Tesla’s market capitalization is greater than those of Toyota, Volkswagen, Daimler, GM, Ford, and BMW put together.

Of course, Tesla does not sell anything like as many cars as those other makers. But market capitalization is not based on sales. It is the result of analyses by investors in the stock market. And they see things that most Americans do not. The market for internal combustion engines (ICEs) is in deep decline, and that of electric vehicles (EVs) is growing rapidly.

It is a watershed change. We in the U.S. don’t see it because our government has not pushed it and legacy auto companies have only just begun dealing with it. But in the rest of the world, the changes are profound.


EV sales were up in China in October 113% from the year before. This happened in an overall market that was down 5%. In Germany, plugin car sales were up 12%, year on year, as the overall market was down 35%. In France, plugin car sales were up 55% in a market that was down overall by 31%. In Norway, over 90% of new cars sold are plugin types. The list goes on.

Car companies in this country are beginning to see the “hand writing on the wall” for ICEs. Ford is finally trying to take a leadership position with its Mustang Mach-E, the F-150 Lightning, and E-Transit electric cargo van. It had projected selling 300,000 of these per year. Now it has doubled that goal and wants to sell 600,000 in 2023.2

We don’t see electric buses much in this country. One report published late last year said there were 650 of them in the U.S.3 But we are far behind much of the rest of the world in this also. Bogotá, Colombia has 1,485 electric buses. So one city in Latin America has more than double the number of electric buses that there are in the entire U.S.4

There is resistance, both here and in other countries. And the fact that Tesla has greater market capitalization than a bunch of legacy companies speaks to that. Legacy companies want to sell their ICEs. They have the engines, and they have the machinery to make them. When they stop making ICEs, they will lose a lot of value because of stranded assets. Investors have seen that and taken it into account when they put value on companies.

Abandoned car. (Eric McLean, Pexels,

In one case, Toyota was at the cutting edge with the introduction of hybrid vehicles. But now, it seems to be betting on hydrogen fuel cells, which, most critics think, are likely not to work well. That might also have to do with a sort of stranded assets.5

We at Green Energy Times have a word of advice for our readers. It is not just corporations that are vulnerable to having stranded assets. We, as individuals, can have them as well. And we would bet that the value of a car that needs to burn fuel could plummet as the market changes. The day will come when range anxiety will be a problem for owners of cars with internal combustion engines, as drivers wonder how far it is to the next gas station.

1 “Revisiting Elon Musk’s 2018 Predictions on Tesla’s Market Cap,” CleanTechnica, 11/20/21,

2 “Ford Doubles EV Production Plans, GM Books 18,000 BrightDrop Orders, CleanTechnica, 11/19/21,

3“North America Electric Bus Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2020 – 2025),” GlobalNewsWire 11/19/20,

4“Electric bus – Bogotá,” Wikipedia,

5“Toyota-Led Team Japan Aims to Save Internal Combustion Engine from Extinction,” CleanTechnica,

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