I am copying a post from our internal discussion board which I thought would be of interest, when looking at the interest groups around this project of ours. The original comment came from Jean Louis from Belgium-France (Is that a new way to state you are from the side of Belgium that will soon become France??)
I will post his original post as a response to my post...but check out the discussion board at www.projectBetterPlace.com
Here are a coupld of observations on the special interests as I met them these past few months extensively
1) Car guys - need any way possible to get cars simpler to make profit. The myth that they want a car to have more replacement parts is not true - they would like a car that assembles in less time. Plus - they want all the used car guys to buy a new car which they will not do unless there is a newer cheaper way to use the car.
2) Big Oil - divided these days into national companies and global companies. The global ones actually see their business as "transportation energy companies not just oil" and they see their wells starting to dry up within 10-15 years. they get no new wells, and as a result they would love to find a better way to energize cars. can you say partnership?
3) Countires - while they collect tax on gasoline they lose a lot on their trade balance due to oil imports. Countries manage overall money markets (macro) not just taxes from one commodity (Micro). Plus, remember mel brooks always said "It's good to be king" - if you run the taxes for a country you can always add a tax somewhere else as long as the money stays in your country. If you import oil the money goes away and you never get to collect the taxes afterwards....
Finally consumers - especially in Europe - if you drive the average used car in Europe it is 7 years of age, making it worth roughly 3,000 Euros (which is almost a million dollars at today's exchange rate, right?). Think for a second - your "replacement threashold" has now become 3,000 Euro or less than the gasoline you pay for one year. At the pace things are going right now, you will probably be paying 1.5 Euro to 2 Euro a liter for the next year or two...in other words you can get 1,500 liters in exchange for your car. So anyone giving you more than 20,000 km of free drive will convince you to get out of your car...That makes the consumers the most important factor in this game...no longer silent becuase they can vote with their wallets.