Have you driven a Tesla S? You have to. It has a cool factor that competes with Ferraris.
Yes, it has a $100,000 price tag.
That is too pricey for most of us. But until you get in the driver seat of a Tesla and punch the accelerator you will not appreciate the growing excitement over electric cars. The world changes when you are sitting inside a four-passenger luxury car that can smoke a muscle car from 0-60.
The Tesla S is a breakthrough technology because it is designed as a consumer electronics device.
Think iPhone in 2007. Before the iPhone, and now the Tesla S, there was nothing like it.
Like a smart phone, the Tesla S is designed around continuously updated software.
For example, I programmed a trip from San Diego to San Francisco into the car’s large iPad sized digital display. The software not only mapped the route but also routed for recharging stops. But what was amazing, the recharging stops are continuously updated based on actual driving experience. The software will never let you experience range anxiety.
Designing Cars As Consumer Electronic Devices
The design of cars as consumer electronic devices is a mega-trend now on the cusp of mass marketing.
The full maturation of this mega-trend will be a complete reshaping of what transportation means to us. Its culmination will be a mobility as service business model anchored by autonomously driven electric vehicles.
“Smarter cars” is the first step toward this future. That is what is happening today. Our cars are increasingly being equipped with smart cruise control, self-parking and 360-degree sensor monitors.
Car design is also focusing on integrating into our digital lives. All auto manufacturers, expect Toyota, offer Apple Play and Android Auto connectivity.
The next design wave will link our cars with artificial devices like Amazon’s Alexa.
Growing Use of Electric Drive Trains
Increasingly, our cars will have electrified drive trains.
Hybrid electric drive trains are the first generation of vehicle electrification. Most of us think Prius and fuel economy. That is about to change. The combination of electric motors and combustion engines generates both superior torque and horsepower.
Since 2014, hybrid engines have been used in Formula One. Two electric motors, plus a combustion engine, achieves 760 horsepower, 35% increased fuel efficiency and blazing speeds.
It is this type of technology that is being used in the 573 horsepower Acura NSX. This sports car gets 21 city MPG while delivering a blistering 3.1 second 0-60 time.
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is a great test drive to see why hybrid drive trains should be in your future. The EPA estimates this five seat, four-wheel drive, SUV can achieve 34 city and 30 highway gas mileage.
That is best in class.
What is stunning is its acceleration. This SUV, with its four-cylinder combustion engine and electric motors, leaps up a highway ramp.
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