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NEXT Generation of Drivers & Cars

Electric cars are gaining momentum, and they could lead to even more drastic changes in the car industry than just the abandonment of fossil fuels.

Electric powertrains will enable other technologies that could spell the end for individually-owned cars, argues Navigant Research senior research director John Gartner in a recent article for EV World.

Many analysts have argued that the combination of electric power, autonomous driving, and carsharing and ridesharing services will profoundly change how people use cars.

The array of sensors and processors required for self-driving cars draw a considerable amount of electricity, and a fully-electric powertrain can more easily provide this.

The same would theoretically be true of the numerous connectivity features that would give people relieved of the duty of driving something to do—and potentially make sharing services more efficient.

Increased use of carsharing and ridesharing services could shift more volume to the roads from public transit, Gartner notes.

Cars used in sharing services will still have higher annual vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) than today’s individually-owned cars, which will likely shorten their lifespans.

Higher VMT could also require more frequent replacement of cars, helping to soften the blow of falling new-car sales brought on by sharing services, says Gartner.

Yet carmakers plan to do more than just supply vehicles to sharing services.

BMW and Daimler already operate their own carsharing services, while GM is investing in ridesharing service Lyft and has its own “mobility” brand called Maven.

Ford plans to transform itself from a car company into a “mobility company” by looking at ridesharing and other potential sources of revenue beyond car sales.

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