La BMW i3 est dotée d’une multitude de technologies innovantes - Avec la LimeWire, le bruit le plus fort sera le battement de votre cœur - La mini Cooper tout électrique - La Porsche Taycan, la première sportive 100 % électrique de la marque, sera présentée au public en septembre.

Tomorrow’s cars

  • Today’s forerunners


We think of tomorrow’s cars as being electric, shared, self-driving and connected. Progress is forging ahead on all four aspects, but at different rates.

The way ahead seems to be towards two types of vehicle engine: all-electric for driving in and around towns, hybrid for the rest. Hybridisation seems set to last and should be the majority mode in the next 10-15 years. The diesel craze has led to a shift away from petrol, which still has plenty of scope for improvement in efficiency and eco-friendliness. But the craze of the day is undeniably the electric motor. All the carmakers are producing them: Kia with the e-Niro, Jaguar with the I-peace, Audi with the e-tron, Porsche with Taycan mission E, BMW with the i3, etc. Two-wheelers are heading the same way: Harley Davidson’s LimeWire is a case in point. But while electric cars are making daily progress, they need the electricity to fuel them, and there’s the rub. A problem that a future generation of cars running on hydrogen won’t have. But there are still years of research ahead before that’s possible. Although there’s no shortage of hydrogen on the planet, it packs more power than petrol and doesn’t pollute, the fuel cell system is complex and very costly.

The ultra-connected, autonomous car is already with us, but we want it to be safer, more comfortable and more flexible. It will turn the driver into a passenger who can bring every aspect of their life into the adaptable, modular, intelligent interior of their car. But transferring responsibility from man to machine is not just a technical issue. It will require new ethical rules, policy decisions (such as changes to the Highway Code) and redefined insurance policies (to manage the shift from the driver’s liability for driving error to technical error and product liability).

Today’s trend is towards single customer services that are multimodal, integrated and instantly available. These ecosystems offer mobility on demand via a single application for car sharing or connecting with taxis, car parks or battery charging stations. BMW seems to be showing the way, with DriveNow, (a free-floating car share service with a fleet of 6000 vehicles in 13 European cities), ParkNow (with online booking and payment for parking on the street or in car parks) and ChargeNow (a single payment card for 25,000 charging stations in Europe).

Maurice Gouiran