The Changing Electric Tide – The Future of Electric Vehicles

The Changing Electric Tide – The Future of Electric Vehicles

There’s a storm coming, and it’s powered by electricity.

“Good, bad or indifferent, if you’re not investing in new technology, you’re going to be left behind.” – Sir Philip Green.

Every nation on earth is currently rushing to make sure they don’t get left behind, and with good reason. Given the near expiration of oil reserves and the worldwide focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, anyone not jumping on the electric bandwagon is bound to be left in the past.

Electric vehicles are on course to be the main mode of transportation within the next fifty years. France and the UK are aiming for an end to fuel-car production by 2040; India has set a target of 2030 for the electric car takeover, while China has ambitiously pledged to eradicate fossil-fuel cars by 2020.

The Cost of Progress

Just as stoneworkers felt the impact of the onset of the Bronze Age, it seems our society is in for some turbulent times as the oil reserves dry up and the electrical grid takes its place.

A ban on oil products, or a heavy taxing of their use, is predicted to create instability similar to the 2008 financial crash.

It’s foolish to assume that only Big Oil will feel the impact of the changeover – the chain-reaction triggered by the change will affect any number of businesses and private citizens.

The current generation of mechanics and auto-repair technicians may be the last in human history.

If the cost of producing electric cars doesn’t dip soon, then taxes may also have to rise to cover the government subsidies.

Autonomous Vehicles

Self-driving cars have been a novelty talking point for some time now, but a recent Bloomberg report suggests they are still some way off. However the next fifty years will see major changes on the roads as autonomous vehicles take over from human drivers.

As self-driving technology progresses, human drivers may become obsolete – another big concern for the 60% of the male population who currently make a living in driving and transportation.

Given their ability to drive closer together on the roads, their lack of fault and crashes due to human error and their proposed ability to read traffic patterns and avoid congestion, self-driving cars will have profound effects on the global economy.

Moving Forward

The need for mass amounts of lithium to create the batteries needed to power electric cars still presents a possible stumbling block. The scramble for rare metals is sure to have yet more knock-on effects for the environment and economy.

Dutch oil company Shell has argued that future improvements to fuel-engines will produce even more efficiency than the proposed electric model, so not everyone has the same view of the future.

But the relentless forward momentum of new, green technologies doesn’t show any signs of slowing.

Tesla are rolling out their first mass-market Model 3, and advances to charging technology means that even the Toyota Prius Hybrid, once considered the peak of green-driving, leaves twice the carbon-footprint of the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3.

 

References:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1361920916307933

http://www.atkinsglobal.co.uk/en-GB/angles/all-angles/electric-dreams

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/10/journey-to-all-electric-car-future-shorter-than-thought

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