THE BEGINNING OF AN ERA OF CARS / AUTOMOBILES
Cars, as we know, are changing due to the limited availability of fossil fuels, emission norms by governments and changing technologies. One of the most recent events which went against manufacturers and their use of fossil fuels was the Volkswagen Diesel gate issue, various other manufacturers are also under the radar for not substantiating claims they have made regarding fuel efficiency and emissions. The future, therefore, sees the probable downfall of conventional drivetrains used in vehicles.
Cars today are not only machines to get a person from point A to point B. Even the most affordable cars on the market today, come with the option of infotainment systems, satellite navigation, and smartphone connectivity. Driving aids such as cruise control; which keeps a preset speed while on a highway and park assist; in which the car automatically parks itself, make the life of the driver much easier. The driver now needs to put in much less effort, than he used to due technological advances.
The Advent of Electric Cars
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, the electric car is, therefore, an innovation to tackle the conventional fuel crisis. The technology used however is nearly 200 years old; The D.C Motor is what drives today’s electric cars. Tesla is a pioneer in this field, their cars have a decent range of about 400km and charge within 1 and a half hours from zero to full, the charging stations themselves are solar powered and therefore the entire cycle of energy generation and consumption, in this case, is environment-friendly. For the performance enthusiast, Tesla vehicles can accelerate from 0-100kph in less than 3 seconds which will put to shame even some of the most modern petrol powered supercars. Tesla cars are exorbitantly priced and could only be afforded by the elite. A new model called the Model 3 costing around $30000 is more affordable and the company has made around $ 4billion just in pre-bookings. The signs therefore of people taking to electric power are absolutely positive.
Smartphones, laptops, and connectivity have become an extension of human beings. Convenience is what human beings are after, we can be in touch with our close relatives through social media, we can listen to music anytime anywhere, the possibility of getting lost is now virtually impossible as everyone has a smartphone with maps on it. Apple and Google are taking their technology forward and are implementing it in the automobile industry. Prototypes of autonomous cars are in testing, this means that task of driving which requires physical and well as cognitive input from the driver looks to be a thing of the past.
While electric cars are good for the environment and are cheap to run they do come with a set of disadvantages. In petrol powered cars we can travel just about anywhere anytime if we’re low on fuel we can fill up at a fuel station that is available just about everywhere and it takes hardly five minutes to do this. In an electric car the charging points are at a few locations as of the present, and if you’re low on the charge the waiting time is at least one hour. Such is the case in developed countries like the U.S.A and Europe, Tesla says the Model 3 will go on sale in India and is working on making charging stations in the country.
Autonomous cars are in testing and while they claim to be safer than humans driving there have been three recorded accidents of the testing vehicles. In a situation where there is an unavoidable accident, how does the car decide what to do? The driving and road conditions in a country like India may take at least a decade to develop for accommodating self-driving cars.
The automobile industry is like the computer industry in the 1980s. Computers were highly expensive and were slated to replace various devices such calculators and typewriters, this took place after a decade; when computers were affordable enough and powerful enough to perform various other functions such as eliminating the need for writing letters and going to a post office. Electric autonomous cars are still in their infancy, when the required infrastructure is in place and technologies such as batteries even more advanced they will without a doubt replace fossil fuel powered cars, and who knows driving may actually become a thing of the past.
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