Here at Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, we’re so enthusiastic about the future of motoring that we spend each month scouring the Internet for articles about electric and autonomous vehicle technology that you might have missed.
Here’s our reading list for the past month:
- Much ado about the Financial Times’ report that Apple have been in talks to buy McLaren, the supercar manufacturer and Formula One team. McLaren themselves have since denied the story – kind of. ‘We can confirm that McLaren is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment,’ said their spokesperson. But he added a tantalising caveat: that McLaren ‘regularly’ has ‘confidential conversations with a wide range of parties.’ At the very least, it’s a sign of how things are going. Tech companies are definitely sniffing around the car market, but they might not want to make the cars from scratch themselves. So we can expect these sorts of tie-ups to happen in the future.
- One of the most persistent concerns about electric cars seems to be that they don’t have enough range – but, as David Roberts at Vox so rightly points out, they increasingly do. He cites the example of Chevy’s new Bolt, which is due out by the end of the year. This is expected to have an impressive range of 238 miles. And the best part? As Roberts puts it, ‘the Bolt is not some fancy super-car like the Tesla. It will have a base price of around $37,500.’
- Does China have its own Elon Musk? Bloomberg recently reported that the Beijing-based internet tycoon Jia Yueting has put $1 billion into the development of a swish-looking new electric sports car. It’s all part of the new vogue for greener, electric vehicles in China. A separate Reuters article detailed some of the other numbers: ‘General Motors’ China venture last year pledged to spend $4 billion on electrification, developing 10 new energy models by 2020.’
- Driverless vehicles will be the norm within 20 years, according to a bold new report from KPMG. Their experts have set out the impact this could have on everything from our transport infrastructure to our safety, from driving licences to town planning. They summarise: ‘Public authorities need to start planning now to navigate through these myriad issues, and ensure that our [autonomous vehicle] dominated world is one designed to maximize social and economic benefit.’
- And where will we park all these cars of the future? Or, more to the point, how will we park them? The Salford University maths professor David Percy has figured out that our traditional 90-degree parking arrangements don’t make the best use of space. Put bays at a 45-degree angle, he says, and everything would be much easier and safer. Coming soon to a supermarket near you?