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Hello everyone,

If you were wondering why this blog went quiet for a while, it was because it once again evolved into something new. Having started as a mostly personal project in 2008 under the influence of Seth Godin and the Triiibes movement, it took a turn two years¬†ago when I started writing the “Tech Metals Insider” column for Kitco News.

This was accompanied by a growing number of speaking requests and more writing, which prompted me to now completely separate the two activities, and to reassign “The Eniqma” as my personal playground yet again.

So please check out my brand new website, humbly registered as bodoalbrecht.com to learn all about my new passion: speaking, writing and coaching on many things related to precious metals.

Website Capture 2015-06-11

See you there, and perhaps see you still here…. many thanks to all of you for reading my blogs over the years.

Bodo

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IMG_4368As fortune would have it I was able to spend much time on two of my favorite things recently: innovative technology and cars. The two have met, the world of cars is transforming in a big way, and my not-so-new-anymore writing charter for KITCO News allowed me to study it up front and close. In the process, I believe to have unraveled the mystery of where the industry, and we as frequent users of cars, are going. After many hours of conversations with people from all camps, and after even more hours of visiting events and reading online material, here is my prediction on what the next twenty or so years will look like:

  • We will not run out of gas. Yes, more people use gas, but more people use less gas than before. Ironically, the melting ice caps will allow us to drill for oil in even more places.
  • Consequently, the internal combustion engine (ICE) will continue to live on for quite a while.
  • However, since we keep changing climate by living the way we do, there is still an urgent need to implement new technologies that reduce our carbon footprint.
  • These new technologies don’t necessarily have to be “sustainable” in the beginning, but using what is always available instead of continuing to burn up precious resources must be the ultimate goal.
  • The majority of consumers is not in the “pioneer” or “early adopter” camps when it comes to changing.
  • This is bad news for any car that’s battery powered. A large amount of people will remain sympathetic but on the fence for a very long time, especially since there is no immediate need to change.
  • Small battery powered cars will continue to struggle with range for a while, meaning they will mostly be used for commuting only. Their market is further narrowed down by the necessity to keep a second car, so to a lot of people they make no sense economically.
  • Large battery powered cars like the Tesla will continue to be expensive for quite some time. Tesla’s Model S has replaced the Toyota Prius as an avatar to a specific demographic subgroup of society: people with a certain level of education, enough money and an overall “sustainable” and “organic” approach to life. Plus, in some cases, the desire to show it.
  • The majority of car producers will move towards designing new models in ways that will allow for an easy swap of power trains. ¬†Customers will not only be able to select between different conventional engine sizes (gasoline and diesel) but also CNG, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery EV and fuel cell EV.
  • This “menu” approach will put them at a distinct cost and acceptance advantage over EV-only concepts like Tesla or the new BMW i-line of cars. In fact, I am ready to predict that unless Tesla keeps pushing the envelope their growth will flatline within a few years. Note that the “new” Tesla X scheduled to come out next year is essentially the same car.

IMG_4316Bold predictions? Perhaps. Except they are not, apart from the last bullet, maybe. The above statements are a -preliminary- assembly of puzzle pieces I gathered as explained in my my opening paragraph. Elon Musk has so far remained elusive to me but I hope to be able to confront him with this scenario one day. As to the other manufacturers, VW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Ford and Toyota are all rolling out “menu” cars already, with other brands close behind. So it isn’t actually a prediction I am making, it’s an observation of what is already happening.

Meaning the future is now, and I like it!

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Hi everyone,

This blog is of a more personal nature: in 1979, I spent a month at Hampton High School in Hampton, VA, as part of a school exchange program. I stayed with the lovely family of Mrs. Brown who, in addition to her own four children, had quite a lot of foster children of all ages that she raised (the count was 102 children in 1982). Rodney then spent a month with my family and at my school in Frankfurt, Germany.

We met twice afterwards when my parents and I traveled to the USA; then we lost contact. I am trying to reconnect with Rodney.

The picture was taken in 1982 – Rodney front left, the older girls are his sisters Mary and Robin (my dad and I in the background). There was a third sister, Kathy, who is not in the picture. I don’t even have the old address anymore but seem to remember it was “Newport News Ave”… all a bit blurry. I’ve written to Hampton High School several times (still have the old “Crabbers” t-shirt from 1979) but I am not getting any answers. None at all, very strange.

Testing the “six degrees of separation” theory I am asking for your help: if you know anyone in Virginia or even in Hampton, would you mind forwarding this blog to that person? I am quite sure that a family this large will have left a trace in town.

Thanks a lot in advance – I’ll report back if I succeed, of course.

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