This is a fantastically useful and clear-sighted article, Saul, thank you very much. I agree with every word – save some points of emphasis, which do little to change the overall thrust of the thinking. It’s very US-focused – fair enough! – and so what I’m working on (here in Sweden, at Swedish government) has more emphasis on, say, electric public transport (and a few cars) than electric cars as the only vehicle in town, due to the win:win:win gains we get by tilting even more in that direction (health, safety, clean environment, freed-up streets, local green infrastructure, reduced healthcare costs, AND electricity) … Much of the world has that possibility. And supports all your broader points (buses have big batteries). And there are other design principles to bring in, which I know you know you get from the potential above, which I wouldn’t frame as “deprivation” – say, with logistics, where we have long-range via biofuelled planes and electric trains, switching down to electric trucks, and then to electric vans at consolidation centres on the edge of town, and then down to cargo bike or AV shuttles for last km. (Better still supported by more local production in the first place, with circular material use, reducing long distance material movement a little too.) That is all electrified, yes, but you’re moving less, and in a packet-switched network sense, until smaller, lighter, cleaner components are all that people see. Even if it’s electric, I don’t want a big truck driving into the middle of what are still medieval cities! Nor do we have to. So those principles support your core argument, but give us a slightly different emphasis than simple “efficiency and deprivation”. Anyway, thanks again, super-useful. Would love to discuss one day.

Designer, urbanist, etc. Director of Strategic Design at Vinnova, Swedish govt’s innovation agency. Visiting prof UCL Bartlett IIPP + Design Academy Eindhoven

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