SE Vehicles

eVTOL challenges to rethink the EV (2)

Jul 03, 2018

Battery power and autonomous technology may work like a miracle lubricant in making personal transportation work more efficiently - in terms of costs, energy consumption, time spent, usage of space, point-to-point transit and overall convenience.

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To read Part 1 go to eVTOL challenges to rethink the EV (1)

Below you can see how relevant aspects interlock, and how 'lightweight' and 'sleek' form the key to unlock the potential. Works like a checklist - what's intriguing, is that they all have a cost-cutting component to them.

Electric drive
However, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) says that the costs of electric cars remains a strong deterrent for customers across the EU, along with the lack of charging infrastructure. "The European Parliament mustn’t lose sight of the fact that the market is essentially driven by customers. A natural shift to electric vehicles will simply not happen without addressing consumer affordability", says Erik Jonnaert, ACEA Secretary General. The European Parliament’s Committees on Industry (ITRE) and Transport (TRAN) will vote on the European Commission’s proposal for future car CO2 targets on July 10. ACEA cautions that the targets must be realistic, taking into account what people can actually afford to buy.

Self-driving
AI experts like NYU’s Gary Marcus says we're in for a recalibration in expectations, sometimes referred to as 'AI winter'. That delay could have disastrous consequences for companies banking on self-driving technology, putting full autonomy out of reach for an entire generation. Ian Robertson, BMW's special representative in the UK, believes governments could outlaw autonomous car features. He believes that regulation will curtail autonomous features. “I think governments will actually say okay, autonomous can go this far”, he said. “It won’t be too long before government says, or regulators say, that in all circumstances it will not be allowed."

"If you build it, they wil come"
Part of the problem is that automakers tend to use self-driving as a luxury feature on their more expensive, therefore bigger cars. The bigger the vehicle, the more difficult it is to have it maneuver autonomously through dense city traffic. Reason why buses will never become self-driving, unless they have their own dedicated bus lane. Why is that? The bigger the vehicle, the more road space it occupies, the smaller the margin to evade other road users. The same applies to using battery power, a vicious circle which I have addressed extensively in previous blogs: the bigger the car, the heavier, the more batteries are required, the pricier the car becomes.

There's a reason why Google (Waymo) started out with a small, self-driving two-seater. Now that we mention Google, Silicon Valley may bring what's needed to start the ball rolling. See below.

Lately so much attention went to the addictive nature and mind-numbing influence of smartphones and social media, that we tend to overlook that the 'real world' could do with creative, new solutions to concrete problems.

As long as we're not capable of "beam me up, Scotty" from A to B, we need some sort of transportation mode, right? The (semi) three-wheeler you see here will bring you to your destination more time-, energy-, cost- and space-efficient than you're used to. The Boston Consulting Group found out that a taxi (or Uber) ride consists of 1.2 passenger, so the 'Smart ForThree' capacity suffices 95% of the time. With autonomous technology all three seats can be 'paying' passenger seats (since the chauffeur/pilot can be left out), and a modular Flying Car will be able to provide one fluent, seamless service.

Click below for more info on the road-going module.

Here's how safe, sleek and lightweight can go together

Self-driving brought closer - it's all in the footprint and the layout

Ralph Panhuyzen, sevehicle@gmail.com

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