Friday, July 20, 2018

How Self-Driving Cars Will Accelerate Electric Vehicle Adoption

Car charging (Credit: Click to Enlarge.
Over the last two decades, fully electric cars have had, let’s say, a slow start.  In 1997 the Toyota Prius was released as the world’s first mass-produced hybrid.  And while hybrid technology has taken off, drivers have been hesitant to accept fully battery-powered tech for a variety of reasons, including a lack of charging stations.  But things are looking up for electric.  Today you can get a full charge at one of the 16,000 stations across the US.

Plus, battery costs are rapidly decreasing and the public is warming up to the idea of electric cars.  In fact, some experts predict electric vehicles (EVs) to account for 65 percent to 75 percent of sales in 2050—which is also good news for the environment.

Another hot topic in the auto world is autonomous rides.  Though we’re still several years away (at least) from robots taking the wheel, some cities in America—Las Vegas, Phoenix and Pittsburgh, to name a few—have already seen self-driving vehicles in action.  In the future, autonomous vehicles and battery-powered technology could work together to create cleaner, more efficient roads.

Electric Vehicles:  Right Now.  Maybe you’ve ridden in an EV.  Maybe you own a Tesla Model [3] or Audi e-tron.  For the most part, they look, sound and act like a traditional car, but there’s one major difference:  their engines run on batteries and not on internal combustion powered by fossil fuels.  The pros of going gasless include reduced maintenance costs, lower fuel expense and—most importantly—less pollution.  However, electric vehicles are currently more expensive than traditional vehicles.  Some experts believe battery costs will continue to decline over the next 10 years, which will further entice shoppers.  In fact, from 2014 to 2016, battery prices fell by 50 percent, allowing EVs to gain some traction.

Driverless Vehicles:  Right Now.  No, they’re not straight out of a sci-fi movie.  The term autonomous vehicle (AV) can refer to a car, a truck or even a drone.  These vehicles operate on computer intelligence with varying levels of human assistance.  Self-driving cars come decked out with intelligence you might not see:  sensors, radars and cameras to virtually scan the road, with a ton of processing power under the hood to handle the data streams from all those input sensors.  Currently, several laws and regulations stand in the way of a driverless reality, but automakers and tech giants continue to refine their robot rides because they know they’re the next big thing.

Read more at How Self-Driving Cars Will Accelerate El ectric Vehicle Adoption

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