The Future: Autonomous and Electric Vehicles Come Together as One

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【Summary】Self-driving and electric vehicles are at the forefront of innovation. These concepts are anticipated to combine to form the cars of tomorrow.

Mia Bevacqua    Aug 04, 2018 10:09 AM PT
The Future: Autonomous and Electric Vehicles Come Together as One

Pure electric cars are already roaming the streets. Meanwhile, self-driving technologies are beginning to show up in the form of driver-assistance functions. Although these two concepts seem separate, they're very closely related, and will likely combine to make the cars of tomorrow. 

Why self-driving cars will be electric

A study by the Department of Energy found internal combustion-powered self-driving cars could increase fuel economy by 200%. The reason being, more people will be driving more often. For example, the elderly and the disabled will be able to hop in a car and go wherever they please. Drive fatigue and intoxication will no longer be limiting factors, either. 

It only makes sense that most – if not all – self-driving cars be electric. And nvironmental sustainability and fuel conservation aren't the only arguments for the merger. There are plenty of other reasons as well. 

To start, autonomous vehicles will have an easier time recharging electrically than refueling. At a gas station, human assistance is needed to fill up the tank. On the other hand, an autonomous car can drive itself over a wireless charging device to get juiced. 

Autonomous vehicles are also more efficient than those driven by people. Taking the human out of the equation leads to more consistent (and rational) driving behavior and a greater economy. As a result, electric cars have a greater range when they're self-driving. 

Finally, there's natural progression to consider. Petroleum-powered vehicles are being phased out, while self-driving cars are being ushered in. It's far more likely that AV technology will be paired with a modern electric powertrain than an outdated, internal combustion engine. 

Governments push AVs towards electrification 

Governments – especially economic powerhouse, China – are already pushing for electric cars. Now, they're beginning to do the same for autonomous vehicles. 

The two technologies are both beneficial to the general public. EVs are good for the environment, while AVs provide a new level of driving safety. GM's CEO Mary Barra refers to an electrified, self-driving future as "zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero fatalities."

Major companies combine the technologies 

As consumers become more accepting of alternate transportation like, electric cars, the hope is they will also embrace driverless vehicles. Major companies are already combining the two technologies in anticipation of market demands. 

And it isn't just Tesla that's merging the concepts. Other household names – such as General Motors and Toyota – are getting in on the action.  

It's undeniable – our future is a self-driving, electrified one. 

Sources: NetWorkNewsWire, Time, and The Economist 

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