New technology may push indifference to electric vehicles over the hump - MobilityLab

Electric cars are far from new, although it sometimes seems like it.

Since the 1830s, when the first electric carriage was developed, electric cars have been considered the future of transportation – always over the horizon, never quite ready.

Finally, however, we seem on the verge of true mass-market adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) This, in a nutshell, was the message of “The Future of Electric Mobility and Transportation,” a panel at the 2018 Auto Show in Washington, D.C.

Energy guru Kate Gordon opened the session by saying that we need to look not just at the automobile itself but the entire system, where its power comes from and how it is delivered (and I would add the land-use patterns that our transportation systems enable).

Marcy Bauer of EVgo, on the panel that followed, envisioned “more cross connections, and creative partnerships between car companies, utilities, charging companies, and municipalities to some degree.”

Gordon described these as “super exciting times” for transportation, but argued that the transition to all-electric autonomous vehicles might take some time—say 10 years—to be well underway. This is because Americans are keeping their old cars longer than previously, 10 to 15 years in California compared to the three to five years common in boom times, according to utility executive David Owens.

The move to EVs is one part of three simultaneous revolutions that includes shared vehicles and autonomous ones. Brad Stertz, Audi’s director of government affairs, said this will create a technological rollercoaster, likely with unexpected consequences.

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