For many, life without access to cars seems incomprehensible. For those living outside of city centres, getting around solely via public transport is simply not a viable option. Conversely, the ease of which you can now summon an Uber in central London is astounding, and something that could not have been made possible were it not for the plethora of tech that has been developed over the past decade.
With advancements moving so quickly, what’s next for the humble motor car?
Sat somewhere between our current contentment with petroleum powered cars and our desire to improve the efficiency and cleanliness of our engines, are hybrid cars. With the UK seeing a 133% increase in plug-in hybrid sales in 2015, people are taking their first step away from traditional vehicles, so perhaps this is where we can expect to see the most growth over the coming years.
The technology’s here, it’s being implemented, and is available to the masses. Although cost is perhaps the biggest bridge to commercial viability for electric cars. With the Tesla Model S starting at £60,000 and more inexpensive Nissan models starting at £12,000, many people simply won’t be able to join the electric car club. That being said, as technology improves and we start to see more second hand models available, this cost will start to drop dramatically.
The second hurdle manufacturers need to leap is the distance electric powered vehicles can currently travel, with some managing just 80 miles before needing a recharge. While this range could, in many cases, facilitate a weeks’ worth of commuting, for most the idea of being limited by miles and the prospect of lengthy recharge times is off putting. Again, as we start to see these become more commonplace, so will charging stations, alleviating at least part of the problem.
With the likes of Tesla, Google and Apple all pushing development within the area of automation, we can expect this to be the next trend step in personal transport- Elon Musk has stated that he expects fully automated cars to be in the mainstream within the next two years, once 1bn miles of data has been captured. However, two years seems overly optimistic, as the main concern that currently surrounds automated vehicles is people simply don’t trust their life with a robot, and our distrust of things we can’t physically see will limit our use of such services. We might see it become more common within delivery driving, with the likes of Amazon looking ahead to automated delivery systems, but only with a supervisory driver.
Read our related blog: Five tech trends for 2016