Technology has changed the way we operate our daily lives. Literally everything we do revolves around technology in some way or another. Or at least it does in my life. We talk about flying cars, and we also talk about driver-less cars – both as the next frontier. But what we don’t talk about as much is the cars themselves. Meaning – how will the cars of the future function? For many of you, your trip to work this morning involved some kind of transportation. And my guess is that the vehicle you drove or road in was powered by gasoline. My question for you is, will the cars of the future rely on gasoline?
Let me take a step back for a moment. Electric cars have been around for awhile now. Cities try to promote their use by providing charging stations at publicly run facilities. But, in my opinion, it’s not having the same kind of impact that it could have. These are small incentives that aren’t going to make a difference in the grand scheme of things. In order to get more people to buy more electric cars, there have to be more cars available. More options. Better cars also. For people like me, who are big time commuters, relying on electricity alone isn’t going to be enough.
Volvo has announced that by 2019 all of their cars will either be 100% electric, or a hybrid model. This is big news. Gigantic. Volvo is taking a risk by doing this, don’t you think? They are changing the way that they create vehicles, and then telling their customers that they have fewer options when it comes to the cars themselves. Regardless of the risk that Volvo is taking, what will this mean for the future of cars? As I mentioned earlier in this post, there are electric cars out there. There are alternatives to the traditional engine. But there will have to be a big shift in the industry in order to make that happen. Which is what I see Volvo doing.
Simply put, the cars that we’re buying (and that are being made) aren’t the right type of vehicles to propel us into the future. I will get back to Volvo in a moment, but let’s put the car itself aside for the moment. We are at a time, from a technological perspective where we are on the brink of a lot of really big and really great things. The technology exists in most cases, but we haven’t figured out how to fit it into our current systems. Think about the first iPhone, or even when Apple launched it’s iPod. It had our heads spinning. How can we put so much information into these tiny devices? At the time, you were considered “elite” if you had an iPhone. But now, everyone has one. Ok… maybe not everyone, but it’s essentially the same technology. Right?
In order to move forward, our way of thinking and the systems that we create need to change. iPhones are now being created in a way that allows developers to create apps that make our lives easier, or more interesting, or just as a way to distract us. What I’m driving at (no pun intended) is how is this different than a car? I am not an expert when it comes to cars, but overall, the technology of the engine hasn’t changed a lot over the years. Yes, technology has allowed companies to make faster and more efficient cars. They’re safer etc., but they operate the same way for the most part. What now needs to happen is that we need more companies like Volvo, and Tesla to keep coming up with the new technology.
I think that Volvo is onto something, but I’m not sure it’s going to be popular in North America. Sure, you’ll have the city dwellers who only commute across town to pick up groceries who may purchase an electric car. But I think it’s a ways off before heavy duty commuters, like myself, see the value in this type of vehicle. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to purchase a car that didn’t rely on gasoline, but it’s not practical for me. At least not right now. It will be interesting to see if other car companies move in this direction or if the technological shift hasn’t occurred enough yet. Whatever the answer to that, I look forward to seeing what is offered in the future and how technology shapes the way we get around.