Or will you even be driving at all and simply be a passenger in the “driver” seat?
Fully autonomous cars are already on the roads, testing. Globally, governments want safer, more fuel efficient vehicles. But they want them to be affordable, as well. As of right now, technology isn’t cheap. Neither are the costs of lighter materials to help make vehicles lighter, therefore, more fuel efficient.
What bothers me is that it may already be too late for all these new regulations, to be fully complied with by 2025, to save our planet. That’s what all these emissions regulations are for anyway, right?
By 2025, approximately 95% of the world’s vehicles will still rely on fossil fuels. Only 25% will be electric, which is a 20% increase from today’s 5%. I get that an increase of over 20% in just 10 years and keeping these vehicles affordable is exceptionally difficult. Especially with energy costs in some places of the world, like Japan. Electricity is not cheap there, so would electric vehicles make sense in Japan? Probably not. Hybrids would make more sense, so long as they’re not the plug-in type.
As for the ability to reduce a vehicle’s weight and keep that vehicle affordable, steel is still the cheapest material out there. Sure, some manufacturers, like Ford, have started going with aluminum bodies, but it’s three to six times more costly for aluminum than steel. And CFRP, or Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic, used only on specialty sports cars, is 40 times more expensive! Will materials costs drop that much in the next 10 years? That remains to be seen.
Whether we, as consumers, like it or not, the automotive industry is changing. The changes raise a lot of questions and give some answers based on research and studies. What happens to the automotive technicians when cars are semi- or fully autonomous? What happens to truck drivers when those semis they drive, to make a living, go fully autonomous?
Sure, insurance rates would change, but that would be because these vehicles are internet connected, report back to your insurer, and your insurance company can truly monitor your driving. I wouldn’t have my rates go up because you’re an awful driver, you would. But I don’t want anyone to have that kind of monitor-ability of my driving habits — ever. Isn’t that privacy invasion of some sort? Oh, right, once you buy the car, you sign all that away.
The big push seems to be toward semi-autonomous vehicles, where the driver will be able to control the car in unfavorable or emergency situations. This push is due to many different reasons, the leading being hacking vulnerabilities, which are issues no company can ignore and must prepare for.
Ride/car sharing will also become more popular over the next 10 years due to increasing interest of millennials. More millennials are willing to ride/car share (on a global percentage) than Generation Z, Generation X, and Baby Boomers combined.
Lastly, as per capita incomes rise, emerging markets will own an estimated 78 million vehicles, compared to an estimated 34 million in developed markets.
Check out the following links for more information:
Exchanges at Goldman Sachs – Cars 2025 – What Will Drive You? | Listen via Stitcher Radio On Demand
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