Believe it or not, there is a road that stretches beyond the mundane avenues that pave modern existence. It illustrates the power of human ingenuity and extends beyond the ground to breach the sky, and you can ride along it without so much as a hand on the wheel. This is the future of cars.
Although many still battle traffic jams, bow to the authority of light signals, and maneuver through the dangers of the road daily, there are talented engineers crafting a vision of mobility to better suit the future. Soon there will be vehicles that remove the stress of parking and the annoyance of driving. Fuel sources are changing, too, with environmentally friendly modes of transportation steadily climbing the ladder. Traffic troubles as well might someday be alleviated thanks to automobiles unanchored to the ground.
Before you dismiss these advances as science fiction, read on to discover that the technological revolution of vehicles is already happening. Futuristic cars are here, and they are shaping the civilization of tomorrow.
The Future Is Green
Increasing emphasis on climate change and its relation to pollution has led to the creation of environmentally friendly cars. It’s something of a paradigm shift from gasoline-powered cars, which, according to Green Car Reports, have dominated the industry for 140 years. It’s strange to consider charging your vehicle rather than pumping fuel into it, but statistics show that the idea of going green is taking hold in the automotive world.
Electric Vehicles and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles compose only a fraction of today’s car population. However, the number is growing; there were a mere 25,382 EVs in the U.S. in 2011 and 160,191 EVs in the U.S. by 2016, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The EIA also predicts that EVs and PHEVs will become more prevalent after 2020 with emerging light-duty models.
The government plays a role in the automotive industry’s rising green tide as well. Several incentives and laws coax buyers toward purchasing environmentally friendly vehicles. A total of nine states to date have embraced the Zero-Emission Vehicle program originally introduced by California. ZEV is designed to lower overall greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by mandating that automakers sell a certain amount of EVs, PHEVs, and hydrogen cell vehicles. The IRS also offers tax credits ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 for those who purchase EVs, and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy notes that other rebates and perks may be available depending on individual circumstance and location.
The stunning variety of EVs available on the market today makes them more appealing to consumers. Companies like Tesla and Chevrolet are putting out luxury EVs that turn heads. The Tesla Model 3 is sleek, can accelerate from 0–60 mph in 3.5 seconds, and features a 310-mile range. Chevrolet’s 2018 Bolt EV follows close behind with a range of 238 miles and a delightfully spacious interior. For those interested in more cost-effective options, the 2017 Nissan Leaf is widely available, has a range of 107 miles, and is priced at approximately $30,000. You might also consider Smart models, which generally have shorter ranges but are much more affordable. Prices start at $23,000.
The Evolving Concept of Driving:
Autonomy and Modern Car Features
Futuristic cars possess allure that goes deeper than soothing environmental conscience. New and developing models offer an array of features to save drivers time and increase safety.
If you’ve ever had to parallel park in a hurry, you know how frustrating and time-consuming it can be. Luckily for those who dread this situation, a clever combination of cameras and sensors can do the job for you. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is equipped with Active Parking Assist that takes over the duty of steering you into a spot. Say good-bye to checking if you’re in the lines and wasting time precariously wedging your vehicle between others, because self-parking will erase this aspect of driving.
The National Safety Council reports that there were 40,100 people killed in car accidents in the U.S. in 2017, so it’s no surprise that enhancing safety is a significant component in the design of futuristic cars. Features such as teen driving and collision warning systems are prominent among new car characteristics. Nissan, among others, offers predictive forward collision warning in several models, which senses obstacles up ahead and alerts the driver. If you’re worried about your learning teenager on the road or you’re downright scared of driving with them, GMC and other brands have a teen driver feature that can limit speed, take away music until seat belts are on, and provide report cards to better performance. These and other developing technologies are removing some of the peril from driving.
Many believe that autonomous vehicles are the key to preventing accidents on the road. The scale of autonomy for vehicles goes from zero to five, with zero being no autonomy at all and five being completely independent of human interaction. Most agree that Level Three and above are on the distant horizon, but there is no doubt that Level Two has been fully achieved with vehicles such as Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which still requires a person to drive but removes the pressure of maintaining safe proximity to others and instigates automatic emergency braking.
While the technology may not be quite there, the minds of modern engineers are already creating the path to complete autonomy. Concepts such as the Icona Nucleus represent an elegant picture of future ease: The Nucleus would essentially be a cushy room on wheels, with a lovely panoramic view for passengers, none of whom must lift a finger to drive. It’s only a matter of time until such ideas are put into practice and weaved into reality.
Up, Up, and Away: Flying Cars
Perhaps the magic that lifted Harry Potter’s automobile into the sky is fiction, but the concept is very real. There are a host of logistical problems when it comes to the development of flying cars, such as requiring a pilot’s license, configuring air traffic, and building a vehicle that is just as smooth on the ground as it is in the air. Despite these challenges, innovators around the world are working to implement solutions and make flying cars a part of the future.
Terrafugia’s Transition is one of the most cutting-edge flying cars today. A two-seater that can go up to 100 mph on the ground and 400 mph in the air, the Transition has wings that fold neatly to its sides for ground transportation mode and has a beautifully space-age appearance. Although this airborne car will require a Sport Pilot Certificate and certainly won’t be cheap, enthusiasts and champions of future development everywhere will get to see their excitement come to fruition when Terrafugia begins producing Transitions in 2019.
Although purchasing flying vehicles will likely be limited to the supremely wealthy, riding in them might someday be accessible to the public. Uber announced a project named Elevate, which aims to revolutionize modern travel by making air transport feasible in urban areas. Imagine removing the stress and annoyance of a bustling city commute and gazing down on skyscrapers as you’re lifted to your workplace. The possibility is exciting and indicates that the future of cars may well be merged with the future of aircraft.
Best Cars for the Immediate Future
If you’re shopping for a car now, then you have many excellent options available in 2018 and plenty to look forward to in 2019. Luxury cars are at a peak of magnificence and working-class cars are nicer than ever.
A practical crowd favorite is the Toyota Yaris. This compact car highlights the progress of fuel efficiency, as it gets 36 miles to the gallon, and has a polished, neat look. An added plus is the Toyota Yaris’s sensible starting price of $15, 635.
For those more interested in a luxury car, the Audi A4 is a popular choice. It’s worth the starting $36,000, since it sports a variety of safety features, smooth handling, and a suave look. The sedan gets a solid 27 mpg and adds a modern flair with its head-up display.
There is a wild assortment of highly anticipated cars arriving in 2019. Among the most unique is the Porsche Mission E, which will be a powerful EV with a top speed of 155 mph and a staggering 600 hp. The Porsche Mission E will also be eye-catching, with a lustrous gleam and smooth aerodynamic shape. Whether you’re looking for a practical car, an environmentally friendly car, or a top-of-the-line racer, vehicles debuting in 2019 surely will not disappoint.
The world moves incredibly quickly, with surprising and innovative ideas making their way to the market every day. The thrill of the future is no longer so distant with the variety of technological advances occurring and being applied to improve transportation. The characteristics often assigned to imagined futuristic cars are already in play or being developed: The process of driving is gradually becoming more automated, the structure and function of vehicles are shifting to suit environmental initiatives, and some designs are gleefully taking to the skies. Keep your eyes peeled for the cars of the future, because they’re shaping a transportation revolution that will doubtless impact society.