What does the Future Hold in Store for Motoring?
2016 has been a funny old year. With a historic referendum and political merry-go-rounds, numerous celebrity departures, and sporting achievements and controversies, if you don’t know the answer to many a-future pub quiz questions starting “In what year…..?”, you wouldn’t be far off guessing 2016.While we don’t know exactly what’s in store for 2017 – and who could have predicted the ups and downs of 2016? – one thing that we do know is that the world of motoring is developing fast. The way we drive our cars and use the roads now is different to what it was even twenty years ago, and it will no doubt be different again in the future. So what developments can we expect, if not for next year, but perhaps in the years ahead? 1) Electric vehicles Lampooned by many and put down as fads by others, electric cars have been a low-profile minority on our roads for many years, but not for much longer. It is expected that there will be 2 million electric cars globally on the road by 2017, and they will account for around 1% of car sales in Europe and China, which sounds a small proportion but actually is a big milestone for this type of vehicle. Although electric vehicles (EVs) are still relatively expensive, there are lots of incentives being given in several countries to encourage uptake in the fight against rising levels of greenhouse gases, including a proposal to give electric cars priority in clean air zones http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37654584 2) Self-driving / autonomous vehicles You must have slept through this year if you haven’t heard of self-driving cars. Tesla have developed cars with an element of auto-pilot, as have Google. Numerous tests have taken place, and some have even been bought and driven in the real world. They have huge potential in improving road safety. However, it is concerns over safety have stopped them from being on the roads in big numbers right now http://www.whatcar.com/news/are-autonomous-cars-safe/. With some further development work, the safety issues can be overcome, and it’s predicted that the age of autonomous cars is on the horizon. The question is really just how far away.
© From What Car3) More expense With the falling pound and rising car insurance premiums partly due to rise in insurance premium tax, motoring isn’t getting any cheaper. Petrol prices are back on the up due to rising oil wholesale prices and the falling value of the pound. It’s not a cheap time to be a motorist, but the answer isn’t as simple as expecting that everyone will switch to other forms of transport. After the VW emissions scandal, 2017 is a prime time not only for new car buyers to have a keen eye on efficiency and economy, but also to question the claims manufacturers make about their cars. Don’t be shocked if that guy from sales who absolutely must have the sexiest looking car in the showroom suddenly develops a love for pocket-friendly hatchbacks or even a hybrid. Be prepared to talk about MPG instead of 0-60 4) Technology integration As has been the case in previous years, there will be a rise in the number of cars with interactive technology. Think Siri inside your car and you won’t be far wrong. Going beyond the standard sat-nav, not only will cars drive themselves, but they’ll also become a communication tool – they’ll keep you plugged into your emails and social media, sync to live Google maps to improve your journey, and all manner of things. With in-built car technology, if there’s an app for it, you’ll be able to do it in your car. We will also see a rise in the number of drivers happy to use black box technology as a way of driving down their insurance premiums. The internet of things will increasingly include cars, and that can be a good thing for many people. 5) Car sharing Not even owning a car will fast become popular in 2017. With rising costs, parking becoming scarcer, and an increased awareness of the environmental damage that even building a car can cause, more and more people are choosing not to own a car at all. Instead they are using car sharing schemes, where you have access to a pool of cars, and you book one to suit your particular needs at that time – like Boris Bikes in London. With monthly fee and pay-per-mile schemes in operation, a growing number of people have access to a car that they don’t have to worry about maintaining. It’s working in the US – read more at https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/jul/23/car-sharing-helps-environment-pollution Other schemes allow you to rent your car out at times when it would only be parked up on your driveway, giving others access to the vital resource and earning you some money to put towards the essential costs. Peer to peer lending schemes have worked for hotel accommodation – AirBnB – so why not for cars? Check out https://www.hiyacar.co.uk/ if this is something that sounds like it could be good for you What do you think the future holds for cars and drivers?