The march toward electric cars has steadily gained steam over the past couple months. In early July, Volvo made waves by announcing all new models will be either hybrid or fully electric by 2019. At the time, analysts at The Atlantic and The New York Times saw this as the boldest move by any major car maker to “move so aggressively into electric or hybrid cars.”
Yet, a few months later, it’s now hard to name all the car companies who’ve made similar announcements. All Jaguars will have electric drivetrains in 2020. Mercedes will offer electric versions of every car it makes by 2022. Volkswagen is planning an electric option for all models by 2030. Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi have unveiled plans to work together to launch 12 new electric vehicles by 2022.
Because of high purchase prices, lengthy charging times and limited ranges, cars that run solely on battery power are still rare in most countries. Yet, solving these challenges to offer affordable high-performance electric cars is becoming more and more important, especially for automakers who want to demonstrate that they’re working to combat pollution and climate change.
According to some estimates, by 2018 there will already be 112 battery electric and 72 plug-in hybrid models available globally, up from just 76 and 36 respectively only a year ago.
Electric cars are clearly the future of the auto industry, and the growing interest in driverless cars reinforces their relevance. Electric cars have one big advantage over traditional, internal combustion engine cars here: Their lack of mechanical complexity makes them more suitable for the heavy use needed for driverless technology.
“Rapid advances in self-driving cars will encourage a shift to battery power,” explains Jack Ewing of The New York Times. “It is simpler to link self-driving software to an electric motor than to a conventional engine.”
But, the path to driverless cars is not all smooth sailing. Developers are dealing with a number of technological, ethical and security challenges, so this won’t become reality all that soon. While we wait, it’s certainly worth investing in an electric car. And, if you want to feel like you’re already driving in a car from the future, consider upgrading your infotainment system or taking another look at different car gadgets. We’ve also rounded up some of the latest auto technologies that aim to make your ride a bit more fun and worry-free.
LINK, for instance, allows drivers to bring 2 TB of content – pretty much their entire digital worlds – into the car with them. From there, passengers can use LINK to create a WiFi bubble within the vehicle to share and connect with almost any device or platform to help make the ride more enjoyable. Passengers can upload their favorite content to LINK that they can then share with the vehicle’s infotainment system, allowing users to enjoy almost any show or movie they’d like regardless of where they are in their travels.
Learn more about this pocket-sized powerhouse and how it can change how you drive.