Thursday, July 6, 2017

The end of gasoline cars?

About a month ago, I was thinking about the future – as I usually do – when I had an interesting question.  There are hundreds of companies around the world that make cars.  The ten biggest – according to this Wikipedia page – are: Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai, GM, Ford, Nissan, Fiat, Honda, Suzuki, and Rennault.  My question was: how soon until one of these announce that they will no longer produce gasoline powered cars?  They’ll still make some hybrids, maybe some fuel cell cars or ones that run on compressed natural gas, but mainly they’ll be switching over to electric cars.  My bet was in ten to fifteen years.

At first, that seemed rather optimistic.  But I live in America where half the government thinks climate change is a hoax because otherwise it would hurt the profits of their fossil fuel benefactors.  Companies in Japan or Europe where they see climate change as a problem would be more likely to want to move things over.

Anyway, I had this idea and started writing this post, but then other things came up and I just kept putting it off.  Then yesterday I saw this headline “Volvo Plans to Go Electric, to Abandon Conventional Car Engine by 2019.” Now Volvo isn’t in the top ten, or the top twenty, but it now makes me think that five to ten years is a more realistic timeframe.  We’ll just have to see who of the top ten goes first.

Thinking about this led to a second question, once the first one goes, how long until the rest of the top ten do?  My original thought was twenty to thirty years, but I’m going to bump that down to ten to fifteen.

Of course, related to all of this is a third question, which is which company on that list will be the first to switch over entirely to making autonomously controlled vehicles?  I’d say that the first one will be in ten to fifteen years, but then the rest will switch over within five to ten after that. 

So I’m predicting that the car of today – that you drive and that runs on gasoline – could very well be an outdated relic in about twenty years.

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