Your Car on (Battery) Acid

 PC: Greenbliglist.com

PC: Greenbliglist.com

Jesse.jpg

The way America, and the world as a whole, drives is going to be transformed in the coming decades. Since Henry Ford pioneered a quick, cheap and easy way of pumping out his original Model T more than 100 years ago, the fundamentals of the car haven’t changed much over time. 
That is, until recently. With the introduction of the Model S, Tesla turned a vehicle that was originally seen as being little better than a golf-cart into one of the sleekest, fastest and most high-tech cars you can own. People (with money to burn) started buying the company’s cars in relatively large numbers and Tesla soon became the sedan to own in many parts of the world. 
However, up until recently, any electric car that was cheap enough for the average consumer to own was vastly outclassed in many regards by their gas-powered brethren. Those that weren’t underpowered were too expensive to own. This essentially relegated electrics to a niche category, and with the price of oil dropping, most consumers had little reason to shoulder the extra cost and burden of owning an electric. 
In turn, traditional auto-manufacturers such as GM, Volkswagen and Volvo had little reason to invest in this technology (outside of compliance cars) and public opinion in the US remained largely neutral towards the new electic-powered vehicles. 
Enter India. In April of this year, the country’s minister of energy announced an ambitious plan to combat the country’s rampant air pollution. India seeks to ban the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2030, forcing any automaker looking to sell in the country to finally make the expensive investments necessary to bring electric vehicles to the masses, just like Ford did with the Model T. 
More countries and businesses followed suit, some with much stricter targets. France, Britain, Germany, Norway, China (the world’s largest auto market) and other nations have said they will enact some form of restrictions on the sale of gasoline or diesel powered cars, or make their sale illegal altogether. 
Volkswagen, coming out of a massive scandal that threatened to tank its sales, now has firm plans to sell an electric version of its entire lineup in the next few years. Volvo will no longer sell pure gasoline-powered cars after 2019. GM has more than 20 fully electric models in the pipeline, one of which is already on sale. And Toyota, the world’s largest auto manufacturer by number of units sold, will cease production of non-electric vehicles before 2040. 
We are quickly entering a world where instead of filling your car, you’ll plug it in like you would all your other devices. Rather than spend money on fuel, a simple subscription to a charging network will save Americans’ wallets and lungs. More importantly, as a pioneer of modernizing the electric car, the US has a tremendous opportunity to be the leader in the next generation of vehicles. 
As the country that employed millions in the manufacture of last century’s vehicles and exported them all around the world, we have the potential to do the same in this century. Electric vehicles are inevitable; the question is, will we benefit from their production or will we simply be consumers of someone else’s foresight?


The way America, and the world as a whole, drives is going to be transformed in the coming decades. Since Henry Ford pioneered a quick, cheap and easy way of pumping out his original Model T more than 100 years ago, the fundamentals of the car haven’t changed much over time. 
That is, until recently. With the introduction of the Model S, Tesla turned a vehicle that was originally seen as being little better than a golf-cart into one of the sleekest, fastest and most high-tech cars you can own. People (with money to burn) started buying the company’s cars in relatively large numbers and Tesla soon became the sedan to own in many parts of the world. 
However, up until recently, any electric car that was cheap enough for the average consumer to own was vastly outclassed in many regards by their gas-powered brethren. Those that weren’t underpowered were too expensive to own. This essentially relegated electrics to a niche category, and with the price of oil dropping, most consumers had little reason to shoulder the extra cost and burden of owning an electric. 
In turn, traditional auto-manufacturers such as GM, Volkswagen and Volvo had little reason to invest in this technology (outside of compliance cars) and public opinion in the US remained largely neutral towards the new vehicles. 
Enter India. In April of this year, the country’s minister of energy announced an ambitious plan to combat the country’s rampant air pollution. India seeks to ban the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2030, forcing any automaker looking to sell in the country to finally make the expensive investments necessary to bring electric vehicles to the masses, just like Ford did with the Model T. 
More countries and businesses followed suit, some with much stricter targets. France, Britain, Germany, Norway, China (the world’s largest auto market) and other nations have said they will enact some form of restrictions on the sale of gasoline or diesel powered cars, or make their sale illegal altogether. 
Volkswagen, coming out of a massive scandal that threatened to tank its sales, now has firm plans to sell an electric version of its entire lineup in the next few years. Volvo will no longer sell pure gasoline-powered cars after 2019. GM has more than 20 fully electric models in the pipeline, one of which is already on sale. And Toyota, the world’s largest auto manufacturer by number of units sold, will cease production of non-electric vehicles before 2040. 
We are quickly entering a world where instead of filling your car, you’ll plug it in like you would all your other devices. Rather than spend money on fuel, a simple subscription to a charging network will save Americans’ wallets and lungs. More importantly, as a pioneer of modernizing the electric car, the US has a tremendous opportunity to be the leader in the next generation of vehicles. 
As the country that employed millions in the manufacture of last century’s vehicles and exported them all around the world, we have the potential to do the same in this century. Electric vehicles are inevitable; the question is, will we benefit from their production or will we simply be consumers of someone else’s foresight?


Jesse Shoghi is a junior studying computing.