Cars of the Future

Back when I did my first post on electric cars in 2011, the electric car was still a novelty. Sure, the GM EV1 had a bit of a spotlight in the early 90's, the Tesla Roadster saw a bit of fame in 2008, and the most popular, though only half electric, was the Prius. But today, in 2017, the electric car has sort of taken on a whole new look.
But first, let's take a look at where we started. This 1903 Columbia Electric Runabout was one of the earliest electric cars. Granted, its range and performance were a very small fraction of what we have today, but you have to start somewhere.
Fast forward to the mid-1990's, to this, the General Motors EV1. Built here in Lansing, the EV1 had a max range of 100 miles. The design of the EV1 bears slight resemblance to the 2nd-gen Saturn S-car, the 4th-generation Cevy Camaro and even the Pontiac Sunfire and Chevy Cavalier. Later on, Honda even drew some inspiration from this car when building their first Hybrid, the Insight, in 1999. (photo credit)

Fast forward again to today. I mean, look at this. The Tesla Model S. It's a thing of beauty. It's lines are entirely unlike anything else lacking an internal combustion engine. It's smooth curves and aggressive face, not to mention performance that will challenge any German sports sedan (at least, up to 120mph) make this car one of my favorites. (photo credit)
What's even more amazing is, as far as I know, unlike the Prius or the EV1, Tesla doesn't pull parts from any other manufacturer's parts bin. They make everything in house. Think about that. This is a $120,000 luxury Electric sedan / liftback that can seat up to 7, that was made INDEPENDENTLY from the likes of General Motors, Ford or Chrysler. Let that sink in. That just goes to show that Elon Musk is a brilliant man with a Brilliant team. (photo credit)
Many people still see the electric car as a fad. An Infeasible look into an unlikely future. But, let's take a look at the middle ground. Right between the conventional Gas-powered cars we all know and love, and the new, futuristic Electric cars like the Tesla, sits Hybrids.
This is what most people think of when they hear the word "Hybrid". The Toyota Prius; a car that started it's life in 1999 as an extremely bland-looking sedan that evolved through several equally bland and uninspired design updates into what it is today...a modern hatchback with...questionably aggressive styling that borders on Cool (So many swoopy lines!) and Uncool (It's a Prius....). Other manufacturers, including Toyota, make other hybrid models as well. The Camry Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Ioniq, and more. Each with their own unique touches to what is essentially the same technology. (photo credit)
But there's a new breed of Hybrid cars out now. The Hybrid Hypercar. These three, dubbed the Automotive "Holy Trinity", are three of the most high-tech road cars out there. On the left is the McLaren P1. In the center, the Ferrari Laferrari, and on the right, the Porsche 918 Spyder. With a price tag above $1,000,000 USD on each, these cars are not exactly feasible for most of us. But it just goes to show how the tech has changed since the first Prius, or even the first Electric car back in 1903 and earlier. But it also makes you wonder where it's going next. It's no secret that technology developed for racing often trickles down to the consumer level at a lower price point. So, where will we be in 10 years? 20 years? Even 5 years? We're just now entering the Electric Car boom. Elon Musk is continually making updates and trying new things with Tesla. Just think...the man pioneering the Electric Car Boom is also the guy who will get us to Mars....
(photo Credit)
We've all seem photos of concept cars, showing what engineers and artists alike think we'll be seeing at that point. In my estimation, within 10 years, Cars with Autonomous Driving mode will be normal. Within 20 years, it'll be standard on all cars. I just hope it doesn't get to the point we saw in the 2004 movie, iRobot, where it's very unusual for a person to manually control their own car. I think I speak for the whole Petrolhead community when I say that Autonomous cars scare me. Sure, it's great if you're tired after a long day at work, or you can't find a parking space near where you want to go, or if you've had one too many at a bar. But we love driving. We love being involved in the driving experience. New cars are taking away that connection to the car. It's unusual now to get into a brand new performance car and still feel that connection. Electronic Power Steering, Clutch systems controlled by the ABS module, Drive-by-wire controls, and, in most cases, Dual-Clutch or automatic transmissions, all take a bit of the feel out of the experience.

But from a sheer techie standpoint, I am excited to see where it all goes. Leave a comment with your thoughts!

-Phil