A few months ago the British government announced that it will ban “combustion engine vehicles” from the UK roads in 2040. That means they will not allow vehicles which use petrol or diesel on the roads!

# All cars will either have to be electric, or use some other type of fuel!

Ever since that announcement, several other governments around the world have done the same. It turns out that the British were not even the first. Who can tell me which other countries?

As an engineer, I have been expecting the end of the combustion engine for quite a while, to be honest. It’s been around for over 100 years. Too long! As I reflected on this, my thoughts went back to when the “horseless carriage” first emerged..

In the advanced economy nations of Europe and America, horses had been there for thousands of years. America alone had a population of 26 million horses. Horses supported millions of jobs in the cities and on the farms, and famously powered the wagon trains rushing towards America’s “Wild West” in search of gold and silver.

_Can you imagine the fear and trepidation from those who stood to lose their jobs?!

There were also entrepreneurs who saw an opportunity… I once asked someone whose grandfather set up one of the first South African “garages” (service centers) for cars, in the 1920s, how he got into the business.

“My grandfather was very entrepreneurial. As soon as he heard about cars, he said to himself: “How can I make money from this new invention that is going to sweep the world?”

He did not have much money but he decided first to simply offer a cleaning service, washing cars for the rich. And it went on from there. Next he started to sell petrol, and learnt to repair cars, and so on. Before long he was one of the richest people around.

What has changed since those heady days of the 1920s? Actually, nothing! The reaction will be the same as it was when the car challenged the horse for supremacy:

#Some will dismiss it as a passing fad that cannot challenge something so well established;
# Some will shrug their shoulders in fear;

# Others will be excited by new products, as consumers;

# Others will demand action from politicians to stop the “threat”;

# Others will see conspiracies by unseen forces to make them poor;

# Others will start looking for opportunities that could turn them into millionaires and billionaires…

__These are the entrepreneurs, just like that guy’s grandfather!

So what do YOU “see”? As I asked last week: Are you following tracks or creating new ones? The changing seasons call for both trackers and trail blazers.

Did you know that in the 1890s, the best-selling car in America was… an electric car, manufactured by a transportation pioneer called Colonel Albert Augustus Pope? (He was considered father of the American bicycle industry before the turn of that century).

“Who would willingly sit atop an explosion?” Pope reportedly asked about the internal combustion engine, at first… Meanwhile Henry Ford read the opportunity and market differently. The rest, as they say, is history. Or is it?

Now more than 100 year later, it’s the oil-powered motor car that will soon fade into the sunset. Yes, it will be gone inside 25 years!

Every single car manufacturer is rushing to introduce its own electric versions. Others are joining in, too. It’s like an arms race out there. Tesla, a company founded by an African, is leading the charge and making Elon Musk insanely rich!

__The electric car will come to Africa and I am ready for it. I have found my little niche in that game, and I’m not telling anyone… not even you my friend!

The “young-old” like me are seeing breathtaking opportunities. What about you? Are you carefully studying the changing environment, as all good rangers must? What by-products do you see?

There has never been a time such as now for entrepreneurs! (But as I said last week, success sometimes takes a lot of patience)…

“My project was retarded by laws of nature. The world was not prepared for it,” said Nikola Tesla in 1919. “It was too far ahead of time. But the same laws will prevail in the end and make it a triumphal success.”

Wow. Ever heard the expression “Hitch your wagon to a star…” ? Let’s talk.

To be continued. . .

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