The car of the future could be quite different but what exactly it will be is still up in the air. Will it be an electric car? We need some significant infrastructure for that to work:
But here’s the thing. As a piece of new driving technology, the Bolt totally works. But the adoption curves and take-up rates of new technologies aren’t driven simply by the efficacy of the technology in and of itself. New innovations require infrastructure to reach their full market potential. Often that infrastructure has to be built by companies other than those who build the original products. And right now, electric cars remain hindered by a massive infrastructure gap…
Tesla has dealt with the infrastructure challenge by building its own network of proprietary superchargers—stations that only Tesla owners can use. But it’s a closed system, and it is part of what makes Tesla a luxury product. Non-Tesla users are out of luck. And while some of the big automakers are establishing partnerships with charging networks, none has taken it upon itself to build the dense, easily accessible, and highly functional network of charging stations that is needed. So it’s great that the Bolt feels like it belongs in everyone’s garage. But until that gaping infrastructure gap is bridged, it won’t be in nearly as many as it could be.
Despite technological advances, accidents like these reduce consumer trust and send companies back a few steps. A true autonomous future is perhaps as far away as 50 years, considering all that needs to happen to ensure safety and prepare the average driver.
While one will see the occasional driverless car zipping tech execs around Silicon Valley, new connected cars will still be out of reach for most families.
The internal combustion engine vehicle with a human driver may prove to have quite the staying power. How about we envision the electric self-driving vehicle for all several decades down the line?
Another thought: given all that would need to be done to completely switch over to either option, could the money and time be better spent on other problems?