Will The Future Of Cars Soon Be A Thing Of The Past?
Updated: Mar 19, 2020
The following is an article “Will The Future Of Cars Soon Be A Thing Of The Past?” by Marc Primo.
There is a famous ‘80s movie about time travel that postulates the future of cars in a single but memorable line: “where we’re going, we don’t need roads”. The film in question is ‘Back to the Future’, which was released in 1985, a time when America and other world superpowers were making quantum leaps in technology.
Reel life versus real life
Fast-forward 33 years into the future and we find ourselves still using our roads. Worse, these avenues and freeways that the movie predicted would no longer be needed have become congested, with monstrous traffic jams affecting the idyllic quality of life we all enjoyed once upon a time. As a result, stepping out of our homes and hopping into a car to get from A to B has become a daunting prospect for many people.
It comes as no surprise then that a growing number of think tanks are coming up with predictions of their own, and one in particular is sure to raise many eyebrows. That is, in less than 20 years from now, the motor engine will become obsolete and none of us will ever need to own a car again. Sure, take a moment to let that sink in.
So where is this wild idea coming from?
The invention of ‘no inventory’
Let’s rewind back to an era when rent-a-car companies were raking it in, offering sweet deals to those who didn’t own one for whatever reason. While this may have been a customer-centric service, it wasn’t an ideal business model for major players like Avis and Hertz.
Aside from the sizable capital required to purchase a fleet of cars to rent out, there were other stumbling blocks like high insurance premiums, credit card fraud, and other risks of high value inventory.
As the business model for car rental companies became outdated, a new trend emerged that essentially served the same purpose but worked in the company’s favor as well. Leveraging on the digital age of smartphones, app-based transportation services like Uber proved that a need could be addressed without the need for an inventory. Since Uber’s vehicles are mostly owned by a third party, the company is able to keep their overheads low, allowing its customers to move around town at a lower fare than a metered taxi.
The future is now
If you think that such a business model cannot possibly be topped, here is where electric cars come in. Yes, electric cars might be old news. But the newest breakthrough in the automotive industry that has tech analysts predicting the demise of the motor car as we know it is like something out of a J. K. Rowling novel.
While going electric cuts the need for fuel thereby increasing a company’s bottom line, the ball doesn’t stop there. GPS-navigated self-driving electric vehicles that operate using the same business model as Uber are already being tested.
If analysts are correct, we may have finally found the be-all and end-all solution for ride-sharing companies and their cost-cutting efforts, as well as a practical and innovative alternative for the car-less market to whom they cater.
So as it turns out, we apparently do still need roads where we’re going. But hey, at least we won’t be needing drivers anymore.