It's all about inexpensive, reliable, convenient mobility.
are nearing the "second great
electric-car extinction." The first extinction happened after the
financial crisis, when numerous electric-vehicle
startups went bankrupt
then, the EV market has been dominated by the single significant
survivor, Tesla, and by the experiments of the major automakers.
best-known example of the latter is probably the Nissan Leaf.But various other all-electric cars and plug-in hybrids dot the automotive landscape. And they aren't long for this world.That's
because the narrative in the future of mobility is shifting. Since the
mid-2000s, it's been all about alternatives to gas-powered propulsion,
The remaining, ambitious players for this story are of
course Tesla, which is hoping to bring out a mass-market vehicle, the Model 3,
and General Motors, which wants to rival the Model 3's
200-miles of range with its own all-electric Bolt, slated to hit the
road in late 2016.Tesla
sales have been growing year after year, but overall EV sales are
It's possible that GM's Bolt will validate the long-range
concept, something that Tesla has kind of already done, albeit at a
much higher price point.A sexier idea
the real issue is that the sexier idea right now in the car-tech realm
Uber is rolling out a small fleet of autonomous Volvo
SUVs in Pittsburgh, Ford has committed to a fully autonomous test fleet
GM is talking about using its $500-million investment in Lyft
and its acquisition of self-driving startup Cruise Automation to set up
a self-driving fleet in big cities,
and Google's work on its driverless
Google Car continues apace.
For its part, Tesla has stressed that the
Model 3 launch and the continued development of its Autopilot
technology are the company's highest priorities.To
get to full autonomy, you don't really need to go electric. Plain old
gas-powered platforms are fine.
They're available in massive numbers,
are large enough in the case of SUVs to lug around all the processing
power, sensors, and radars you need to
advanced autonomy, and can be
refueled in a snap.
No waiting around for an hour or two, which you're
up against even with fast electric recharging.The
self-driving all-electric car is an elegant solution to several
problems, from the theory of global warming to highway fatalities to time lost in
But it's also two new technologies being engineered at the
same time. Focus on one or the other and you probably stand a better
chance of winning.The
pace of driverless advancements also seems to be accelerating faster
than what's happening with battery chemistry, meaning that widespread
electric mobility for the masses might not happen before cars can drive
obviously unclear whether consumers will actually want cars that drive
themselves, outside of ride-hailing fleets and taxi services.
I don't thnk that they will.
is currently expensive, and even if the cost comes down, it will still
be an add-on that has to be absorbed by someone, eventually.
to be seen whether car buyers will want to cough up a few thousand more
on the purchase just to get a hyperactive version of cruise control.But
it is clear that the advanced-mobility storyline has changed, probably
sooner than anyone expected.
And it isn't about what makes the cars go
— it's about who controls them once they get going.
41) In praise of the good old station
44) Future shock,
in you car.
for annual safety
51) The piston
engine is going
to be with us for a very,
very long time.
offs in the car repair
58) Electronic brake force distribution.
- no contest.
Why flushing brake
oil makes sense.
64) When should
I change my oil?
66) W/W antifreeze
68) Recirc A/C
car radiation danger
Fuel saving devices
75) Scheduling appointments.
Modern design of