Future cars will be powered by anything but petroleum. With peak oil already behind us alternative energy future cars will soon become the norm. Future cars power by electricity, hydrogen, biofuel, synthetic fuels and even nuclear will come of age.
As we speak battery electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and plug-in hybrid such as the Chevy Volt are rolling out. In regard to future hydrogen cars, the Honda Clarity and Mercedes B-Class F-Cell are already being leased.
Biofuel cars such as flex fuel vehicles are already in the showrooms and being sold on the open market. Honda also is selling a compressed natural gas vehicle called the Civic GX, but vehicles of this clean fossil fuel type will give way to zero emissions vehicles of the future. Nuclear powered cars are not here yet, but they will be. Ford already produced a Nucleon concept vehicle that was supposed to run on a small internal nuclear power plant if the technology was ever able to catch up. And it will.
In the Present
In the present, smart car technology is already taking off. Emerging technology in cars will already let some vehicles park themselves, detect oncoming traffic and take evasive maneuvers and being tested are those that communicate with traffic signals and other vehicles.
Buses are now being tested in Northern California that follow magnets implanted in the roadway along a given path and drive without drivers, automatically moving along given routes. A few years ago GPS was future technology, now this is old news.
In the Future
Let’s get real for a moment. The idea of the Jetsons is still pretty far off and the Flintstone’s car is pretty far behind. But in near terms future cars will be flying. Think this is too far-fetched. I mean inventors have been trying this for years. Kitty Hawk and Daimler were just the beginnings.
Some of the prototype future flying cars are the Switchblade, PAL-V One, X-Hawk, LaBiche FSC-1, Moller Skycar and the Milner AirCar. Oh, and did I mention the Terrafugia Transition is now taking online orders for its flying car which will be flying in the skyways above you very soon.
But I talk about future flying cars in a whole different section of this site, so let’s keep on track and talk about other types of future cars. For instance the power train of the automobile won’t be the only thing to change in the future.
If you’ve ever been to a major car show, you’ve see some pretty wild designs of concept vehicles. Many of these designs will become the norm. For instance future cars will pay close attention to aerodynamics and being manufactured with a zero carbon footprint.
Not only will future cars be zero emissions, but the whole manufacturing process “well to wheel” as they used to say in the old fossil fuel days, will leave no negative impact on this planet. Right now Honda and other manufacturers are building cars using biofabrics. Carbon fiber bodies will be replaced by biofiber bodies, tougher than steel yet flexible enough to absorb and distribute energy during crashes.
Future cars will be less prone to crashes also as many of the driving activities will be automated and coordinated with communication between and among vehicles, street lights, warning signs, satellites, internet and other digital transmission, networking and computer means.
Future cars will also be safer because of better body and frame structure, impact bags from all sides, and evasion technology. Oncoming impacts will be detected and avoided. This could be from an out of control vehicle, falling rock or tree, or vehicle that has stopped short, pedestrian, bicyclist or other road hazard.
Some future cars will have rollerballs for wheels, others will have fatty tires in odd arrangements, and yet others will be bio-tires grown from organic materials. Access to the future cars will be from on top, from the side in gullwing or other doors or even from underneath the vehicle.
Future cars will be highly customizable, where consumers will be able to go online, design their vehicles with software provided by the manufacturer and pick their customized autos up that day. Future cars will be merged with future motorcycles and many totally enclosed three-wheelers will become normalized (by the way, today the Aptera is already for sale).
Future cars will also be more personalized with many one-person vehicles coming on the market. The Segway will be seen as a precursor to the Moville, Tuvie Scarab, the Revolute, the Honda 3R-C or the BugE Personal Electric Transport vehicle to name a few.
Not only will autos grace the landscapes and airways, but future cars will also take to the sea. The Rinspeed sQuba is what the present day looks like and there have been many amphibious predecessors. But, this is just the beginning.
Kindergarteners of today, in their lifetimes, will experience future cars that will be able to drive, fly or go underwater. Some will even be able to burrow underground as needed. Think this is science fiction? Think again. Everything I’ve told you is either present day technology or emerging technology.
So, when you think of future cars, the idea is to know what is available or being worked on now and make a small projection that many prototypes with the same theme will one day take root in our society. It’s just a matter of time until the concepts and ideas of today become the realities of tomorrow. Future racecar anyone?
For more information visit the Future Cars blog category and check out the latest happenings and predictions.
Credits include: Cosmic Motors, Terrafugia, Ferrari, Hussar Dakar
Youtube Video of the VW Maglev Hover Car