The future is electric. It is; there’s no denying the inevitable: the future of the automotive industry is electric. With massive pushes from governments and sanctioning bodies towards cleaner, renewable resources in recent years, there is only one way for the automotive industry to go — and it’s been headed there for some time now. Just take a look at how much infrastructure has already been set up to support charging on the go, and the number of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid cars swarming the roads. You don’t need to agree with it, or even like it, but there’s no denying that it’s happening and that our petroleum-based fleet is on the decline.
For your average commuter, one who simply wants to sip their morning latte while pushing the unlock button on their key fob and climb behind the wheel of a silent transporter, the electric car makes perfect sense. It doesn’t cause a ruckus, it doesn’t smell of oil and petrol, and maintenance becomes a worry for the mechanic at the yearly warrant of fitness.
However, it’s not necessarily the personal passenger-vehicle sector that will really push the electric charge to the forefront of transport. It’s those in the long-haul and public-transport sectors who will see the most benefits: decreased fuel and maintenance costs, with a far smaller footprint on the environment, alleviating the strain that higher taxes puts on them for spewing pollution into the atmosphere. With driverless technology rapidly advancing, and confined purely to EVs, it’s only a matter of time until saying, “Thank you, driver” as you depart the bus will be a relic of the past.
Personally, I’m not against the idea; it makes sense. The effect on the environment of fuel oil, from sourcing to emissions, is huge, and I want to see the planet still be around for the next generation. The change is an uncertain path, and the technology is still primitive, but it will only get better as time goes on. Hell, we’ve even got the likes of Tesla and Nismo out there developing performance variants for those who still want to go fast.
For the likes of the modifying community, though, it’s the loss of two of our favourite things that scares the most: noise and smell. There’s nothing like the aroma of fresh 98 or E85 straight off the pump and the rasp of a crisp titanium exhaust singing the song of the go-fast lifestyle.
There is also the question of what happens to those who want to retain petroleum-powered combustion vehicles; will that even be allowed? Worse, with the push towards electric transportation, will the big companies currently servicing our petrol needs decline and/or die off completely? I’d hate to see the day when you have to be in the one per cent to buy a litre of 98 while the rest of us are left out in a barren wasteland, Mad Max style, scavenging and fighting for any drop we can get our hands on.
The way I see it all working is the eventual switch to electric commuters for daily purposes, with combustion special-interest vehicles used as they are now — as weekenders. Regardless of what happens, rest assured that there are organizations out there fighting to protect the community as the world moves forward, and hopefully we won’t be left behind.
Long live the fossil-burner.