A few things have happened recently that are pointing the way to an electrically driven future.
- Volvo announced that from 2019 and on, all of their cars will be electric or at least hybrid.
- Premium performance car makers like Porsche, Audi and Mercedes are exploring hybrid and electric drive technologies. Porsche have even announced their departure from an enviable position in the LMP1 field at Le Mans (that entry was a hybrid) so they can focus on Formula E.
- Tesla is shipping their initial few units of the Model 3 to go along with the S and X, and the market already has vehicles like the BMW i3 and i8, the Nissan Leaf, and the Chevrolet Volt.
- There’s talk of Britain banning all gas and diesel-powered cars by 2040.
Stock Marketing Photo from Tesla
So what does this mean for car enthusiasts? In the short term, probably very little. Most new cars today are efficient enough and there’s no genuine shortage of petrol or diesel in the developed world. The technical limitations and costs of available electric cars remain a barrier to anything that could be considered ubiquitous adoption.
So this leaves us with a LOT of people driving petrol, diesel, and hybrid cars, trucks and SUVs. This is not a bad thing. Emissions controls, efficiency and performance are better than ever. And the more people who buy and drive electric and hybrid cars, the less demand there is for petrol and diesel and that should keep the costs reasonable, at least to a point.
It’s possible the carbon police may eventually pass punitive taxes to make petrol and diesel vehicles financially unattractive, but that’s a political development that I won’t speculate on very much. Shifting the carbon footprint of automobiles to electrical power generation plants probably won’t help the environment much, and may tax a utility grid that’s already at capacity. Reality doesn’t seem to deter those who fancy themselves as righteous and green, so we may be in for an interesting ride.
We may someday face a future where all cars are electric, and that won’t necessarily be a bad thing. The nice folks that run Tesla, Porsche and Mercedes (to name just a few) are already making sure it will be an interesting future. That cars will still have pulse stirring 0-60 times and striking body styles and handling that will likely exceed what we have today. The future may indeed be Electric Land (apologies to Bad Company), but I think that may be Ok.