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Cars and Cassette Tapes: some parallels.

7 June 2022

Do you remember Dolby B and C? That amazing innovation that made cassette tapes sound a whole lot better in the 1980s as they magically reduced the background hiss?

A few years later after an even better Dolby S came out on high-end hi-fi tape players.  It made cassettes sound impressively close to CD music quality.

But it didn’t matter. It was pretty much all over for the cassette tape. CDs were just so much better. Within a few years barely a tape was sold. It was pretty much all CDs.

Similarly, internal combustion engines on our cars have come a long way. So far that a standard 2022 Toyota Corolla has a better power to weight ratio than a top-of-the-line V8 Holden Commodore from the 1980s – and it uses half the fuel and is a third of the price.

But it doesn’t matter that car companies have almost perfected the internal combustion engine. Petrol and diesel cars are about to disappear as quickly as cassette tapes did as electric vehicles (EVS) take over.

EVs are superior in almost every way. They are quicker, smoother, cleaner, and cost far less to run. The only hurdle is upfront cost – as it was for a CD player in the late 1980s – but this is changing.

Looking back, we will soon realize that hybrid cars were the Dolby equivalent that kept ICE vehicles in the race a bit longer. But the race is now over. EVs have won.

In the UK, EV sales jumped from 3% to 26% in two years. Australia is still catching up, but it’s inevitably coming.

Soon going to a petrol station will be as weirdly archaic idea as turning over a cassette tape to listen to Side B.


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