Cars today are being stuffed with more computers than ever before. These computers require a considerable amount of valuable materials to manufacture such as rare metals like gold, silver, copper, tin, and more. An average modern car has upwards of 50 computers, with some of the more complex cars reaching upwards of 100. That’s the equivalent of 40-80 cell phones in a single car. This problem has quietly been growing for years, and it's starting to show itself. Tesla is now the latest manufacturer to have to halt production due to a chip shortage.
The big news from last week is that Tesla shut down their Model 3 production line in Fremont for over two weeks. CEO Elon Musk sent a tweet on Wednesday confirming the shutdown. Other car makers affected by chip shortages the past few months include Ford, Fiat Chrysler, GM, Subaru, Honda, Toyota, Renault, and Volkswagen. Subaru stated in a press release that they were reducing production by 58,000 vehicles this year, and cited the chip shortage as the primary reason. This is just a peek at the supply chain and manufacturing issues we might face down the line. Demand for smart devices is rapidly rising, compounding this consumption of rare metals.
The rate at which we’re putting computers into cars is unsustainable. The vast majority of these computers are only there to entertain or pamper occupants for comfort and convenience. Many of these computers aren’t just unnecessary, they’re redundant. Putting those extra computers in the car means fewer resources are available to build more essential computers, and the impacts of these shortages could be felt across countless industries.
We love computers and tech, which is why we’re working so hard to preserve the resources necessary to make them. It’s time to start being more responsible about our consumption of electronics, especially when it comes to things that don’t need them such as cars. We believe in using fewer electronics in our cars. We don’t need to live in the stone ages, but we don’t need a navigation system on our dashboard if we already have one in our pocket.
We believe cars should be fun to drive, rather than numb appliances filled with toys to distract the driver. Keller Motors has been quietly developing a line of cars for a few years now, which tackle this issue head-on. We have developed an innovative design strategy that uses 90% fewer computers than the conventional automakers use, while producing a car that is much more fun to drive. We call it the analog revolution, and it’s coming soon.