Rube Goldberg

Some of you may know who Rube Goldberg is. For those who don’t, I highly recommend learning about this artist. Mr. Goldberg made ridiculous illustrations involving many different steps to accomplish a relatively simple task.

Today, most people are driving around with similarly complex machinery under the hoods of the car — the gasoline engine. Even the simplest engine has over 300 parts. Most of the parts are a point of failure, and even those that don’t (such as a spark plug wire) cause the engine to run poorly.

Statisticians go crazy about what are called “single points of failure”. They love to calculate the possibility of failure based on something’s components.

I’m reminded about this because of a co-worker who complained about a certain “car care” company that did an exceptionally poor job maintaining his car’s engine. And at the time time, I’m reminded about how few points of failure an electric car has.

The drivetrain in a gas powered car has the engine (with its 300+ parts), and a transmission with multiple parts. An electric vehicle has its motor (2 major components: the housing/permanent magnets and the stator which spins) and a reduction gear that doesn’t change ratios. That’s it.

The next question is: What will mechanics and the car service companies do in the future?

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