AutoJournal July 2017
The July 2017 issue of AutoJournal is now available online. You can flip through it here, but first, a few words from the Editor in chief of AutoJournal, Jack Kazmierski.
Is It Me?
You know how sometimes you think you’re hearing and seeing something, but you’re not? It’s just your mind playing tricks on you. Other times, you are seeing what you’re seeing, and so is everyone else. That’s the feeling I’m starting to get about electric vehicles.
It seems like everyone is talking about electrification, building infrastructure, engineering better batteries, and taking advantage of economies of scale to make EVs more affordable in the near future.
In many cases, electrification seems to be going hand-in-hand with the autonomous vehicles we’re supposed to start seeing on our streets within just a few years. Not only will these vehicles be able to drive themselves, but they’ll be able to communicate with surrounding infrastructure and with each other. And talking about seeing what you think you’re seeing, is it me, or is everyone talking about autonomous vehicles nowadays too?
Warning: dramatic change ahead
So if the experts are correct, within a matter of a decade or so, the world we know is going to change dramatically. Just as the car disrupted the horse and buggy business in the last century, could the autonomous electric vehicle disrupt the auto industry as we know it today?
Personally, I’m on the fence. I know what the experts are saying, but there’s also a part of me that can’t imagine the world we’re being told about. I can’t fathom allowing a vehicle to drive itself when I enjoy driving so much that the mere thought of being a passenger makes me queasy.
I also can’t wrap my mind around the idea that the beloved roar of a muscular internal combustion engine will disappear from the landscape, or that some day we’ll get to the point where the only gas stations we’ll see will be those in a museum, and not those on every corner of every major city in the western world.
Benefits of hindsight
But then again, if you asked me 10 years ago if I could imagine a world where the Internet would be as ubiquitous as it is today, and where you simply had to be online if you wanted to stay in business, I’d probably be skeptical as well.
I’m not sure the experts back in 2007 foresaw the world of 2017 as accurately as we live it today, but they certainly saw that there would be a change. And those who listened, who believed, and who prepared for the change, came out on top.
Perhaps that’s the lesson we can learn from history. The vision we have today of the lives we’ll live in 2027 may not be spot on, but it’s certainly worth paying attention to, and preparing for. It’s not me, it’s the industry. I’m sure of that.