So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
Friday, October 4, 2019
Two Automotive Predictions
The first prediction is that electric cars will take over a lot faster than most people think. One day you’ll wake up and they’ll be everywhere. How will that happen?
Electric cars have always had a number of advantages. They are easier to build and have less moving parts. Maintenance will be a lot less frequent. In the long run they’ll be cheaper to own.
There have been a few stumbling blocks to widespread electric adoption: cost, range, and charging infrastructure. Cost and range have been heavily influenced by the state of battery technology. Batteries powerful enough to provide sufficient range have been prohibitively expensive. Large scale manufacture of batteries and improvements in technology have taken place in recent years. It’s now feasible to have reasonably priced cars with a couple hundred miles of range.
Two hundred miles of range, while not perfect, is good enough. It’s enough range for the vast majority of people’s second cars. For many people it’s enough range for their only car. China is heavily committed to electric cars so you’ll see serious downward price pressure. Volvo is now Chinese owned and they’ve stated they are phasing out straight gasoline cars completely. That will be a trend.
Another thing that’s happening is the rapid growth of charging stations. There are more of them around than you’d think. State governments and electric utilities are pushing their expansion. It came as a big surprise to me to see a charging station next to the Mt. Washington Auto Road. There are phone apps for locating charging stations so they are easier to find.
The second prediction concerns self driving cars. If you listen to the hype it sounds like they are just around the corner. While huge progress has been made, they aren’t ready for prime time. It’s one thing to get good results on a prepared course. Out in the wild there are too many variables for safe operation.
Before we see self driving cars in your neighborhood, there will be commercial vehicles driving set routes. It will be easier to do. Trucks that can go from terminal to terminal will be easier to program. There’s also strong financial incentive to figure out commercial trucking first. Until they get that right, don’t expect to see driverless cars everywhere.
Those are my thoughts on the automotive future. Would I buy an electric car? If the price was right, it would be an acceptable choice to replace my small economy car. It will be a while before one can replace a tow vehicle for a reasonable price.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.