Your Right to Own a Car of the Future

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the NMA blog in February 2018.  Still has a great perspective with some great information.

Owning a car means you have arrived—a rite of passage that many of us looked forward to in our early years. Driving your own car under your own hand brought freedom and fun. Your right to own a car was never questioned. It was all based on whether you could pay for it and pass your driver’s test. Will the car of the future challenge that privilege of owning a car?

Several weeks ago, I wrote in this very blog about a number of companies that have signed a pact indicating that they believe the car of the future will be a ridesharing Electric (EV) Autonomous (AV) car that we call for on our smart phone app. This fleet car will probably be pod like and have very little get up and go. We may even have to share it with other passengers going our way.  They don’t want us to have a choice but to do what they say. Ugh!

Since the pact became public a great deal has been written about the subject. even went so far to state that with the rise of AVs, the actual increase in car ownership will go up.

An assumption has been made in the car of the future media that as the EV-AV ridesharing fleets increase, less folks will want to own a car. The convenience of using a smart phone app to call up a car or to be part of a subscription service is what everyone has been waiting for so they can get rid of that albatross car around their neck.

Let’s face it—most of the time our car is parked somewhere and we are not even using it. But we still own it and that still means something to most of us.

The important thing about the car of the future is that we still have a choice of how we want to go somewhere when we want to go. Sure, perhaps we won’t need to rely on our car anymore if we don’t want to but if we want to own a car, we should be able to purchase a vehicle that fits our needs and our pocketbooks. Here are some reasons owning a car of the future might be better than a ridesharing or carsharing arrangement:

  •    Costs: If the car of the future is indeed an EV-AV mix, then the car should be lighter, with less dashboard controls, with a simpler       engine and hopefully cheaper to own and operate.
  •    Extension of home: your car of the future could be a home away from home especially if you have a long commute. If you also   subscribe to the Internet of Things or IoT, you could do all kinds of things in your own car that you cannot do currently.
  •    Keeping Personal Stuff Inside the Car: Nothing worse than having to drag everything you need to a rideshare or a carshare. If you   have kids, you know what I mean. Keeping our own stuff in your own car can save a great deal of time and be safer in the long run.
  •    Customization—you will be able to order a car customized for your needs.  Want a desk to work from or a bed to sleep in or an easier   way to enter the car if you’re disabled—you can have that. The choices of cars should be greater than ever before and hopefully they   won’t all be pod-like.
  •    Instant Accessibility—if you do not live and will never live in an urban core, the ability to go when you want where you want is greatly   important. Losing control over your own mobility is one of the big reasons ridesharing and carsharing is not for everyone.

The Center for Automotive Research or CAR gave a presentation this past week in Michigan. CEO Carla Bailo stated that from CAR’s current research, Level 4 and Level 5 AVs will account for less than four percent of new-car sales by 2030 but the number will increase significantly by 2040 to 55 percent. The reality checks are now coming fast and furious for AVs…and it is about time.

Let’s hope that by 2040, we still do have the choice to take pride in car ownership whatever configuration that may be with our own car of the future.

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