Tony Seba: Clean Disruption – Vitality & Transportation

Tony Seba: Clean Disruption – Vitality & Transportation

Stanford University futurist Tony Seba spent the last decades studying technological disruptions. He argues that the Electrical Vehicle, battery storage, and solar power, along with autonomous automobiles, are a best illustration of a 10x exponential approach which will wipe fossil fuels off the market in about a decade. –

He is the writer of a number of books, which includes most just lately “Clean Disruption of Vitality and Transportation: How Silicon Valley Will Make Oil, Nuclear, Organic Fuel, Coal, Electrical Utilities and Standard Automobiles Obsolete by 2030”, and “Solar Trillions: 7 Market and Investment Opportunities in the Emerging Clean-Vitality Economy”

Tony Seba spoke in Boulder, Colorado, exactly where he was awarded the 2017 Sunshine Award by Clean Vitality Action (

Filmed and edited professional bono by Martin Voelker with the Colorado Renewable Vitality Society (


50 thoughts on “Tony Seba: Clean Disruption – Vitality & Transportation

  1. Can someone explain the fact that the German consumer pays 3x per KWh what we do her in the USA. UK is 2x. True, I personally observed huge wind farms in DE while living there last year but I realized why they don’t take 10min showers like we do here in USA!!

  2. I’m looking forward to a transportation future that is far less reliant on automobiles and even less reliant on automobile ownership. As a result, I’m predisposed to being convinced by this argument. That said, I’m TOTALLY convinced by this argument.

  3. Climate Change is real. We all need to make energy efficiency a bigger part of our decisions on housing and transportation.

  4. All new buildings and remodels need to be energy efficient and come with solar panes and battery storage.
    All garages need to come with 220 volt outlets for charging electric vehicles.
    In a few years electric vehicles will be the standard. Fossil fuels are the past.

  5. 44:29 "80% fewer cars". I doubt it. Most cars are on the road at two particular times of every weekday – 8am and 5pm. Even with autonomous cars as a service, you still need to meet that needed capacity. If you could magic cars out of thin air, maybe that 80% figure would be right, but unless something else happens (staggered work start times, etc.) you’re going to need at least 40% of the cars that are on the road now.

  6. Nice lecture with a nice THEORY but with an important (if not the most important) parabel left out: TAXES. Also no word on the availabillity or amount of raw materials needed for these new technologies, which ofcourse will have influence on prices.

  7. In general, I agree with what he is saying … that disruptions follow an S-curve and that technologies can compress time and timing of events. This confluence of technologies is going to create a tipping point in some regard. Will it be re-shaped like Tony is suggesting … I think that is impossible to predict, but I do believe that change is upon us.

    What I don’t think Tony is considering (I didn’t hear it in his presentation) are the counter-forces of other trends in politics, actions by oil producers, car makers, and all sorts of established interests. For instance, we have already seen a disruption in the oil patch with the shale revolution, and extraction cost are continuing to come down and more efficient. I think that trend will also continue.

    Lastly, Tony doesn’t discuss any of the unintended consequences of some of these disruptions, which will reset the trajectory of some of these trends he is extrapolating. For instance, the trend he suggest of going to EV, what is the backlash and environmental consequences of huge battery disposal, the accelerated mining of Li-ion?

    I believe Mr Seba is right ultimately, I just question his timeline and the effect of the eventual counter forces due to unintended consequences which that will also certainly occur.

  8. I just wondering why Solar City bankrupted? Currently to install 10 Kwt solar panels cost $36,000 that can be paid off in 20 years if your average electric bill $150/month . Not make sense at all.

  9. He sounded convincing, at first, but lost all credibility when he started talking about solar and electricity. Transmission costs at 7 – 12 cents per kwh!? That is not even in the ballpark. Transmission and distribution costs are about 2-3 cents per kwh in most of the US. Texas, for instance, has full retail rates at 5-6 cents. Then, he took the price of utility-scale solar (large solar plants) at 3-4 cents per kwh and premised his rooftop solar discussion on that price. Due to high transactional costs and the absence of the economies of scale, rooftop solar needs about 10-12 cents per kwh to be economical.

  10. A simple (but daunting!) road map for staying below 2°C
    They start with the big picture: To hit the Paris climate goals without geoengineering, the world has to do three broad (and incredibly ambitious) things:

    1) Global CO2 emissions from energy and industry have to fall in half each decade. That is, in the 2020s, the world cuts emissions in half. Then we do it again in the 2030s. Then we do it again in the 2040s. They dub this a “carbon law.” Lead author Johan Rockström told me they were thinking of an analogy to Moore’s law for transistors; we’ll see why.

    2) Net emissions from land use — i.e., from agriculture and deforestation — have to fall steadily to zero by 2050. This would need to happen even as the world population grows and we’re feeding ever more people.

    3) Technologies to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere have to start scaling up massively, until we’re artificially pulling 5 gigatons of CO2 per year out of the atmosphere by 2050 — nearly double what all the world’s trees and soils already do.

    (Rockstrom et al, 2017)
    “It’s way more than adding solar or wind,” says Rockström. “It’s rapid decarbonization, plus a revolution in food production, plus a sustainability revolution, plus a massive engineering scale-up [for carbon removal].”

    So, uh, how do we cut CO2 emissions in half, then half again, then half again? Here, the authors lay out a sample “roadmap” of what specific actions the world would have to take each decade, based on current research. This isn’t the only path for making big CO2 cuts, but it gives a sense of the sheer scale and speed required:

  11. Too bad our legislators didn’t watch this before they decided to get revenue for the tax bill from the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge…

  12. I have slot of respect to Tony Seba, but I am a urban transport planner, I don’t think we will lose 80% of our car population by 2030, simple 40% of any city population goes to work/ school/ retails / hotel in the Peak hours!! So, every one wished to get transport as service, we will need more than 20% of today’s vehicles!! I wish he could explains his assumption!!

  13. The thing that he did not mention is how this will disrupt governments (and their lobbyists). There is no way that Western governments are going to just sit back and watch this. They stand to lose a lot of tax revenue and power. They will regulate the hell out of these things (as is happening in Australia). They will claim any excuse (safety, being fair to the poor who cannot afford the upfront costs, etc.). As such, people will either be forced onto the grid (with high base connection charges, regardless of usage) or there will be upfront fees/taxes/levies on the technology; if these really are not owned by individuals, then the companies involved will simply pass the costs onto them anyway. Even aside from the economic issues, politicians and bureaucrats are huge busy bodies who will not let people have this kind of unfettered freedom.

  14. This is probably one of the best and most important videos anywhere on youtube. I have watched it multiple times and agree with the vast majority of the message.

  15. I can see how a car is better than a horse. I can see how a computer phone in your hand is better than a land line.

    Can’t see how EVs are better than ICE, in terms of features. There are no advantages, at all, or mass appeal.

    Plus Tesla is supply constrained.

    I don’t think apple or Ford was supply constrained.

  16. Interesting case economically, but rests on a lot of assumptions, namely that there won’t be resistance from law makers and
    society as a whole.

  17. Great talk. Either I missed or he didn’t cover the costs to transition to solar/batteries and the reality that most of will always want a car in the garage ready for us on a moments notice if we have the luxury of a space for it. Anyone else struggling with the term God Parity?

  18. In the UK, natural gas is about 3.9p/KWhr. My gas boiler consumes, when running, 35KW. If it was running on electricity, it would need a supply of over 150 amps at 230v, in addition to my other electrical supply requirements. If everybody made similar conversions to electric heating, the national grid and domestic supply cabling would need to be doubled or trebled in size. Now add in the requirements for a coupler of car charging points and the requirement rises again.This is a massive infrastructure requirement that will be difficult to provide economically. For electric cars, you also need to add a new tax to compensate for the lost tax on petrol sales (or other taxes will need to rise to compensate).

  19. Watch on utube – Light Rider operation Paul Revere
    Switch the 6-50watt glass panels to 6-18 100watt flex panels and the 500watt motor for a 1000/1500watt motor.
    Mobile Solar
    Transportation, power dwellings etc.
    Low cost – $5000
    Machine is easily arrayed with others.

  20. Uber took advantage of not just the cloud and cellphones, but also the regulation of the taxi industry that mandates safety. Let’s not forget that Uber succeeded due to a loophole in the law that allows them to run a taxi service without having to ensure safety.

  21. Tony Seba – First time heard your work. You are brilliant Sir! Everything you said was based on true facts and good analysis. Thanks!

  22. It seems that we will work into a hybrid of ownership and "shared" utilization of vehicles. We have a love for the experiences that ownership of vehicles brings, and there are many, but there is no reason why both cannot exist together in a new way. The idea of solar power and solar cars dominating the way we power our transportation in a very short time is very exciting. Think how much quieter our world will be!

  23. Self driving cars are why cities with housing shortages should start building apartment buildings on the parking lots of dead shopping malls.

  24. I’m all for electric and autonomous vehicles, but I can’t imagine not owning at least one vehicle, especially if the costs come down as he predicts. I need to haul kids in carseats, furniture, etc. When the weather is bad I want to drive my kid to the bus stop and wait for the bus to arrive. I want to go camping in the summer. I want to tow my boat to the lake. If my mother falls I want to get to her house as quick as possible, red lights and speed limits be damned. I want that freedom and I think most everyone else does too…

  25. Exxon has a surprise coming!
    Exxon’s Not Afraid of Tesla: Trucks, Chemicals to Carry Demand The electric-vehicle, or EV, fleet won’t grow fast enough to
    displace much in the way of fuel demand, according to Exxon Vice
    President Jeff Woodbury. Plus, heavy-duty trucks and petrochemicals are
    where the real action is anyway, he said during a conference call with
    analysts on Friday. “By 2040, the fleet is about 6 percent EV,” Woodbury said, referring to a company forecast on the growth of electric cars.

  26. Unfortunately, it is terribly disturbing that this University professor is disturbing his brilliant message by constantly walking up and down, right in the middle of his slides, a typical sign of being nervous. "Get out of the picture’, please! Study how to give a lecture and carry the message though, instead up moving from left -to-right and from right to left like a yo-yo.

  27. This is a great video but misleads in the solar section. Almost 100% of Google’s renewable energy is wind… it’s not solar as Tony states. Also, wind is very cost competitive with solar. Tony is flat wrong saying nothing competes with solar.

  28. His timelines are a little off.

    1. Cobalt that is needed for lithium ion batteries is majorly produced in the wartorn country of Congo. It is not easy to extract (byproduct of other processes) and not readily available. Unless they come up with different batteries, you’ll have supply chain issues to change 95% of cars like he predicts. If someone discovers a new battery with readily available material, it could happen on his timeline.
    2. Government regulations. Oil companies are massive, they won’t go down without a fight. This will delay implementation of his vision.
    3. Where do you get the energy to run all of these electric cars? Nuclear is very cost prohibitive, fission is currently in the works, but for now natural gas plants and traditional means will provide our energy. Solar and wind just don’t make enough Watts for the size that you need. Maybe they’ll develop better technology, but it will delay.

    There is no doubt in my mind that electric autonomous crowd-owned cars are going to be an absolute revolution.

    The point is, material availability and supply chain will disrupt his proclaimed disruption. As always with electric revolutions, batteries are the key. The disruption WILL happen, just over a longer period of time.

  29. how wonderful, how valuable… and trump is trying to prop up coal! his advisers must have told him this, he is just playing the voters for fools. why? more wealth? boredom? meanness?

  30. This was an amazing presentation! I can only say that I’m very glad to no longer be working in the oil and gas industry.

  31. *I am taking a course at the community college and use this book which is really excellent.If you are getting to Solar Energy, this [link here >>>**** ] book is a must.*

  32. A Very Captivating forecast. Writing on the wall is so crisply chiseled, but not everyone can either see it or feel it…… Sad….

  33. This is the reason I invested in mason graphite, up 300% in 2 years. Tesla will need masons graphite and graphene for there gigafactory

  34. Pretty exciting stuff, bring it on!

    Id also like Tony to hear Tony talk about this might benefit the poorer people of the world. Let’s also uplift them with this stuff, and just not the wealthiest countries. Think of an expectant mother who can take a self-driving car to the hospital for herself or children, or a family who don’t have to clear and burn the local forest for heating and stoves. Food production. etc etc etc

    I’d also like to add we may need to do contingency planning also and create some disaster backups for a world that is 95-100% solar.

    A world on a few days reserve energy is quite vulnerable. Perhaps we need to ensure we stockpile accessible natural gas (or better solar generated H2) reserves and generation for calamatous events. Any large volcanic eruptions or moderate asteroid impacts (they can happen) etc, asides from the initial disaster issues, will cause major problems in the world. Even if its a 20% generation deficit if we don’t have other stores of energy to tap into. Think heating, food, transport, lighting, etc.

    Exciting days ahead.

  35. Yeah, somebody in 1985 predicted just 900,000 cell phones for the year 2000. I’m sure somebody (a lot of people actually) in 1969 predicted just 10,000 flights to the Moon and Mars for the year 2000. Both predictions were way off, just not both off in the same direction.

    So I guess you can’t just take any technology that looks promising currently and draw an S curve into the future and expect to get it essentially right every time. The really hard part is predicting which technology will take off and which won’t, and Seba’s analysis may incur a significant selection bias in the sense that he only looks at technologies like cars and cell phones and computing power that IN HINDSIGHT were the ones that took off.

    I would also predict that electric and autonomous mobility will succeed and eventually replace gas cars. The picture is less clear with solar I think. There are some other energy sources that are also growing, and I’m sure you can draw S curves for all of them and predict that each of them will take over 100% of the energy market somewhere between 2025 and 2050. Something’s gotta give.

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