The growth of Tesla and EVs in the last year or so is promising. It feels like the vehicle industry is finally preparing for the next big upgrade. The “iPhone” moment for cars is likely coming soon.
But what about the current set of cars? Today’s story is about two such cars.
Before we begin, I have a request to make. Starting next week, I will be publishing a weekly series called “Level Up” - a story of the challenges a new manager faces as he climbs up the corporate ladder.
This is my attempt at writing my next book in public. Please ask your friends to subscribe so they can get these stories right away!
Okay, on to today’s story:
Teslas are here, but…
The temperature this summer was the highest in the last decade. The summer sun was blowing fire on the faces of people. The city buses, cars, and trains had their cooling systems working at full capacity. Hot air from their exhaust pipes filled the air.
Cars were asking for coolants more often. Their tyres were getting damaged. As a result, most of the drivers chose to stay in their houses and apartments. It was easier to stay indoors and making air conditioners work, rather than going out and wearing out their cars.
The luckier cars got to sit in covered garages, while the unlucky ones had to brave the sun from dawn to dusk. Cars were terrified of getting out of the garages, especially for the purposes of shopping - while their masters wandered around air-conditioned showrooms and malls, the cars had to brave the heat in open parking lots.
"Have you heard?" said a red Civic to a blue one standing beside it. They were both standing in a parking lot outside a huge shopping mall. The sun was shining right above their roofs.
"And what is that? I've heard everything there is! I know everything." The blue car replied.
"Well, no one can say that looking at you. You're not one of the German biggies or the Italian beauties."
"I have seen this country in and out. No one has had more knowledge than I do."
"But I am sure you have not heard this..."
"I have heard everything! What is it?"
"Well, but how can you have heard everything?"
"Go on, test me, you!" The blue Civic fumed.
"Tell me this…"
"Throw anything at me, I can answer every question of yours!"
"Which was the latest Jaguar bought in the city?"
"Haha! That's all you can ask? That's such a simple question."
"Go on, tell me."
"The one bought on January 26. Thirteen days ago, exactly. It is a red XF 2018 model."
The red car stayed silent for a moment before continuing- "That's nice. Can you tell me who bought it?"
"It's a guy named Peter."
"Well, ask me something tougher. These are very simple questions. You’re dumb."
"Then tell me how many Civics were sold yesterday?"
"Well, no one can give me an accurate number apart from the car companies. But I can tell for certain that the number would be between a hundred and two hundred."
"That cannot be right. So many Civics on a single day? You are just making this up to convince me, nothing else."
"Go on! Find it out for yourself. Go talk to the company guys and find out. Of course, if you can talk to them… huh!"
"But that number doesn't seem right! How do you know it?"
"I told you, right? I know everything!"
"But how?" the red one raised its eyebrows.
"When I was manufactured, I was the first one to be manufactured in a new factory. I'm a special one!"
"But that does not explain how you know things."
"You're too stupid to understand."
Both the cars went silent for a few seconds, with the red one wondering how the blue Civic could know all this. No, it was convinced – the blue car was faking. There was no connection between manufacturing and knowledge of cars. What the red one did not know was that the blue car's owner was an auto-magazine reporter who kept himself updated with the latest auto news. He constantly made phone calls to find the latest auto news across the city. As a result, the blue Civic knew.
"You were going to tell me something new, right? Go on, tell me." The blue car continued. Its engine was steaming hot already, and the questions made it insecure. It needed to find out what was going on!
"Well, it is nothing new for you, I am sure." The red car felt shy around the blue car now. Who would know that the blue car would not be like the other dumb cars that were always ready for gossip? Sitting idle in the intense heat called for a distraction. Gossiping was their distraction.
"Haha, of course. But still, tell me what is bothering you…"
"What do you think about the new cars that don't have any engines? I heard yesterday that all of us will soon be replaced by such cars. Even my boss was speaking about it this morning over the phone."
"What do you mean cars without engines? I haven't heard any such story. It is just a rumour that you are spreading, nothing else." The blue car was surprised.
"But I also saw it on a big banner this morning. What will happen to us if these engine-less cars become common?"
"Are you talking about the Teslas?"
"Yeah. They have a different kind of engine. They don't need fuel! They run on batteries."
Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash
"Oh yeah. I have heard about them." The blue car was relieved. This was no new information.
"What do you think will happen?"
"Well, I am sure nothing will happen to me. It is most likely a fad that will pass. They've tried replacing us so many times. But have they ever succeeded?"
"Have they not?" The red car was curious.
"Okay. But still, almost every car I chat with these days is in fear of getting replaced. And it is coming faster than you think."
"Frankly,” the blue car’s voice turned feeble. “I too worry about the same problem. “It is a matter of time before you all go away. Only I and a few others will remain. How old are you?"
"You will be going to the junkyard sometime in the next five years. Good luck!"
The red car was quick to react - "And you will survive? You’re just like anyone else!"
The blue car went silent. With the coming of electric cars, the old ones were soon to be replaced. It was only a matter of time.
"I have a plan for this.” The blue one turned serious. “The only way to prevent yourself from going to the junkyard is by making yourself a prestigious car. If tens of years down the line, you could make yourself a vintage car, you will be admired by everyone else."
"But how do you become a vintage car?"
"Well, why should I tell that to you? Shouldn't I become one myself? Not all cars get to be vintage anyways." The red car raised its volume.
"But you're not even a premium car. How do you hope to become vintage? You cannot!" The red one responded.
The blue one started to fume again, "Well, you will find out when I become vintage. Oh, but you will not be alive to see me. You will be at the bottom of some junkyard or getting recycled. Ha-ha."
"No,” the red car was sweating now, water dripping out of its exhaust pipe. “I don't want to go to a junkyard. If you know of any way to avoid this,” the car swallowed its pride, “please, please let me know."
"Look at you. You will never become vintage." The blue car was enjoying the conversation now.
"Please. We’re in this together."
"You can't do what I want. I know how to become vintage."
"What do you want?"
"I want you to meet with an accident as soon as possible."
"Well, why? What have I done?" The blue car retorted.
"Then you will go to the junkyard. The lesser the competition, the better it is for me. Ha-ha."
"But there are still the other hundreds of cars that are sold every day, right? How can you become vintage amongst all these cars?"
"I'll figure a way out."
"You're just stupid,” the red car said, “Making up everything. You don't even know any numbers."
"You're a Dumbo. I don't like arguing with dumb cars."
"Please, I beg you." The red car’s desperation grew more and more." We are both of the same make and model. Let's be good to each other."
"Well, I'll tell you this. If you want to be in the vintage league, your owner should be a rich person. One who cares about cars. If you don't have such an owner, then it is a worthless pursuit."
"And what are you doing to get there?"
The blue car had worked its way from owner to owner. When it knew that its owner was worthless, it broke down frequently, to a point where the owner would sell the car away. It had done this to two owners before she landed on her current owner. This time, it was working hard to please its owner so that the owner would never sell it.
"I'll get there, soon."
The world still had vintage cars from the '50s and '60s which ruled the hearts of people everywhere. For a humble Civic to get there, however, was too much to hope.
Even if the blue car hoped that it fell in the hands of the right owner, becoming vintage was a rare possibility. It realized that sharing information with the red one would not hurt its chances.
"Trouble your owner so much that they get rid of you. Keep jumping owners until you find someone who will never replace you."
"But my owner would never replace me. She is so good to me. I am a well-maintained car, can't you tell?" There were no spots or scratches on the red car. The leather of the seats was premium, even if it was not fancy. Not a single scratch was visible on the shiny red surface.
The blue one, on the other hand, was a roughly used car. It had traveled through almost the entire country within a span of two years, which made its exteriors scratched on all sides. The tyres had run for more than fifty thousand miles and yet not replaced, which made the car squeak from time to time.
"But I think she will buy a new car in a couple of years. I will then have to go find a new owner." The red one replied.
"See, every car finds multiple owners. Only the lucky ones have a single owner for their entire lives."
"Coming back to the point, if you can find the right owner, your chances of becoming a vintage car are high. Please a famous actor, a famed politician, a writer, or a movie maker with your driving. Writers and movie-makers are the best. If you can please them, there is a high chance you will feature in a movie and then claim your fame. Thus, you will find permanence."
"And how exactly are you going to do this?"
"Well, it was three years ago when I fell in the hands of my current owner. He writes for a car magazine. Since I have pleased him again and again, he has never thought of selling me. Though he gets a chance to drive many new cars, he still hasn't replaced me. I have heard from him that his previous cars lasted at most two years."
"That's interesting. How did you end up with him?"
“Well, like I said. I was the first car to be manufactured from a new car plant. That was enough for a dealer to convince my current owner. I was born special, you know.”
Since the Civic came into his life, the auto journalist had started a magazine and within a span of two years was earning a lot more money. But he had never thought of selling the Civic. The car had been mentioned in several of his blogs and stories which had already given it a lot of importance.
The Blue Civic was helping its owner become a prominent person, in the hope that it would become immortal.
“I hope you’ll find someone too. I am sure I will be immortal. If you want to, start working towards it as soon as possible. Otherwise, a junkyard is waiting…” The blue car said.
The red car’s owner came out of the mall. To not give her trouble, the car started in one go, turned up the air conditioner on its own, and let the owner drive it away.
That’s it for today! If you liked the story, do share it with your reader friends.
Thanks for reading :)
Beautiful. To read this story I fergo my morning spiritual session.