Six Automotive Predictions for 2013
Now, I would not call myself Nostradamus, namely, because George is easier to say, but I fancy myself a bit of an automotive enthusiast. There are certain trends and tendencies in the market, that when extrapolated out over the next year or so, give us a pretty clear idea of where things are going in the automotive landscape. Here are several predictions for 2013 and beyond. Let us know what you think about these predictions, and feel free to toss us some of your own in the comments below. Mirroring Tech:
Listen, we are becoming more and more inseparable from our mobile devices. The automakers think they are putting safety first by blocking out use of the car's navigation system when the car is in motion, but the moment that happens, we turn to our Google Maps app for directions. Everyone knows that this practice occurs, so too must the automaker accept this bad habit. The way to do this is to trick people into using their phones through the car's interface in a "mirror system" which basically creates a connection between the phone and the car's touch screen in a way that replicates that phone on the screen. Everyone will want that functionality, and when you are connected, you cannot operate the phone from the phone itself. Rather, you can only operate from the touch screen, which is all people really want to do. Once that is available, you can block out certain touch screen features when the car is in motion, and we will have moved one of the great distractions from our driving time. Transportation secretary Ray LaHood will be pleased.
This was a term brought to my attention by a PR rep from Cadillac. With lane departure warning systems and the radar-based cruise control, all the groundwork is in place for an automated driving system. The lane departure system, which already monitors lines in the road could be used to actively keep a car in the lane while the active cruise control will monitor vehicle speed, slowing it down to match the speed of a slower car in front of you. In short, all the players are there to make a self driving car for very specific highway driving conditions. This leads us to our next prediction.
Tech Will Continue to Outpace Lawmakers:
This is a problem that has long plagues the development of new automotive technology. The only problem is that the tech is moving so fast, and the majority of lawmakers are so old- many seldom ever drive their own vehicles- that they will continue to be old and out of touch. As a result, many new forms of automotive tech will not be made available to the masses. It is an unfortunate reality when the people that make our laws are a bunch of old, white dudes that are driven around in Chevy Suburban's most of their careers.
It works for cell phones, why can't it work for cars? The concept of wireless charging is an interesting one, and presents a huge problem. There is the potential for a lot of wasted energy from a wireless powerhouse. Furthermore, those old white dudes of which I wrote will also be convinced that wireless car charging pads will give everyone cancer. This is (probably) unlikely. In order for people to get on this train, more officials will have to drive cars, which is a good thing because…
Electric Cars For Government Officials:
This one may be a little fishy. The government gave out large loans for hybrid and electric vehicle development, and if it buys a whole ton then it can artificially play with sales numbers. At any rate, more state and local services will use EVs as utility vehicles. More than likely, they will not replace actual SUVs and trucks, but for the town accountant that was previously driving a V8-powered Crown Vic: no more, as your new ride will be a Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf. Get used to it.
Lincoln Will Fold, Tesla Will Grow:
On the back of incentives and an expanding charging infrastructure, electric carmakers like Tesla and Fisker will find ways to sell more vehicles and grow. Meanwhile, on the heels of an underwhelming MKZ debut, Ford will see little value and shutter the Lincoln brand- probably a decade too late too.
It will be interesting to see which of these predictions come into fruition. Let us know what you think in the comments, and feel free to share some predictions of your own!