by Tyler Dean
Automated vehicles increase vehicle and change the economics of alternatively fueled vehicles. This makes them the cheapest transportation and manufacturing option in the long term. Through automated vehicle fleets used as “point-to-point on-demand car clubs”, we increase the total availability of transport services and make the benefits of alternative fuel and automated vehicles available to a larger potion of the global population. The downside to electrified vehicles and automated vehicles are range anxiety and the loss of the driving experience. With complete adaption, the range anxiety is concurred by specialized distance transportation and by the mass majority of society adapting to method because of the benefits of utilizing their time more efficiently while transporting.
The international Energy Agency (IEA) predict that global economic growth over the next twenty years will double the aggregate fleet and that over the next forty years will triple it. This is not sustainable with the limited amount of fossil fuel energy sources. The IEA has concluded that even if we were to double the efficiency of combustion engines, we still could not sustain predicted quantities of vehicles. Today, the majority of vehicles are powered by burning fossil fuels through engine combustion. This results in local air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Alternative methods of powering transport are required to clean the air in our cities, prevent the worst excesses of climate change and diversify and secure our future energy supplies. Vehicles contribute a large portion of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Improving vehicle efficiency is an essential step in mitigating the problems we face. We must electrify powertrains and utilize low carbon electricity and hydrogen. In addition, we must use automated vehicles; which are more efficient and can improve the economics of electric vehicles. This will provide economic benefits by cutting down monetary costs and environmental benefits by making electrification of powertrains more likely and in turn reduce aggregate emissions. The other downside is the fear that cheaper and more readily available transportation will cause the IEA’s prediction to be inaccurate and over time increase the use of resources, which could have very negative effects. No one is sure if this will happen, but the current evidence points to electrification and alternative energy methods being the best option.
Offer, GH. 2015. Automated vehicles and electrification of transportation. Energy, Environment, Science 8. 26-30.http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2014/ee/c4ee02229g