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    Thread: how do you see cars changing in the electric age?

    1. Member Dieselstation's Avatar
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      12-05-2019 07:27 PM #1
      We are already seeing faces of cars changing.. no more grills, less vent openings, front trunks.. etc.. But as electri cars continue to evolve.. how do you envision it changing car design?

      More interior space?
      better packing of seats due to less engine space constraints?
      better use to storage and seating positions?
      more greenhouse?

      Do we even need hoods anymore? Does the old design philosophy still matter? (hood, greenhouse, trunk)..etc

      I kinda imagine that designs are going to change dramatically to evolve with the times. Something like this

      Last edited by Dieselstation; 12-05-2019 at 07:52 PM.
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    3. Member Shmi's Avatar
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      12-05-2019 07:31 PM #2

    4. Geriatric Member absoluteczech's Avatar
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      12-05-2019 07:37 PM #3

    5. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      12-05-2019 07:44 PM #4
      It will take a while, but I can easily see the old "coach building" age returning after self-driving becomes the norm, in essence at least. In the early days of motoring, you could buy a Rolls-Royce chassis and drive train, and then send it off to a coach builder who would put a body on the chassis. Similarly, I can see having companies who can build self driving flat battery drivetrains, and then other companies who can take those chassis and build little camper trailer style mini living rooms on top of them. Theoretically, you shouldn't need nearly as stringent crash standards if all cars can drive themselves effectively, so they could be built like little RVs or Airstream trailers.











    6. Member Shmi's Avatar
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      12-05-2019 07:44 PM #5
      On a serious note, I wouldn't be surprised to see more of them go for skinnier wheels and tires and get more aerodynamic for efficiency (except maybe for short range city cars where speeds/wind resistance don't get too high).

      Cars will still need crumple zones so they have to isolate the passengers inside a bit, so I'd guess the design in terms of distinct greenhouse and front end sticking around, though maybe evolving? Not sure.

    7. Member Shmi's Avatar
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      12-05-2019 07:45 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by r_fostoria View Post



      I for one would love a self driving electric house (y'know... an RV). Seriously.

    8. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      12-05-2019 07:47 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Shmi View Post
      Cars will still need crumple zones so they have to isolate the passengers inside a bit, so I'd guess the design in terms of distinct greenhouse and front end sticking around, though maybe evolving? Not sure.
      Long term, if they can dial in the self driving pretty much 100%, it would be more like riding a train than driving a car. It will take a while for that to happen, but I can easily see it being possible.

    9. Member r_fostoria's Avatar
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      12-05-2019 07:48 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Shmi View Post
      I for one would love a self driving electric house (y'know... an RV). Seriously.
      Ooooh yeah! It could have a little couch or a bed so you can step in and just take a nap or watch TV while the car drives you around.

    10. 12-05-2019 07:56 PM #9
      Well, for one thing, cars would no longer need to fit in driveways/garages. Entire suburbs and urban centers would be redesigned as the notion of garages attached to homes and centralized parking facilities become a thing of the past. For another, private ownership will likely also be going out of style. We will be summoning cars from remote locations - just like the horse carriages back in the olden times - except instead of a driver, AI will be coming to pick us up.

      In terms of car designs - bye bye mirrors (both interior and exterior), steering wheels, windshield wipers, horns, turn signals, instrument clusters, etc.

      -- DavidV
      Last edited by E30Cab; 12-05-2019 at 07:58 PM.

    11. Member Dieselstation's Avatar
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      12-05-2019 07:56 PM #10
      I just hope it doesn't go in this direction...

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    12. 12-05-2019 07:58 PM #11
      At least near-term ... Not all that much. Look to Tesla, Chevrolet Bolt, and the VW ID3 for examples of EV-optimised vehicle designs. The Tesla (at least in terms of its proportions) looks like a normal car. The Bolt and ID3 have shorter hoods (no need for an engine and transmission to be packaged in a single unit up there) but otherwise look like normal cars if you disregard the decorations on the outer shape.

      The space flexibility opens some options. See VW ID Buzz. VW has stated that a vehicle of that shape and which meets the crash requirements would not be possible with a conventional combustion-engine powertrain up front.

      I believe it is a given that future EVs will package the batteries under the passenger compartment floor, and thus will sit slightly higher than a combustion-engine vehicle would. But people are buying higher vehicles (CUVs) anyhow, so this is something nobody will really notice.

      Right now, everyone pushes for enormous battery packs and very long driving ranges - owing to the charging network still being in its relative infancy. I am quite sure that 5 years from now "range anxiety" will be a thing of the past unless you are going somewhere well off the beaten path (which most people rarely do if at all - otherwise, such places wouldn't be off the beaten path). 10 years from now ... even less of an issue. You drive for a couple of hours and stop for a coffee (as almost everyone does anyhow), you plug it in while parked. When you're done your coffee, it's charged. Nobody will give it a second thought except perhaps if you are going to Alaska or the Yukon.

    13. Senior Member Mike!'s Avatar
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      12-05-2019 08:01 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Dieselstation View Post
      We are already seeing faces of cars changing.. no more grills, less vent openings, front trunks.. etc.. But as electri cars continue to evolve.. how do you envision it changing car design?

      More interior space?
      better packing of seats due to less engine space constraints?
      better use to storage and seating positions?
      more greenhouse?

      Do we even need hoods anymore? Does the old design philosophy still matter? (hood, greenhouse, trunk)..etc

      I kinda imagine that designs are going to change dramatically to evolve with the times. Something like this

      Unless self-driving with no accidents becomes a reality (self-driving will come but I’m really skeptical as to how quickly it’ll be made fool-proof) you’re still going to need crumple zones. All that bare chassis + coachbuilding stuff sounds fun, but IIHS and NHTSA will rake it over the coals unless it’s designed for safety the way today’s vehicles are.

      I see the hood and other vestigial ICE design elements staying for quite a bit.

    14. 12-05-2019 08:09 PM #13
      Others posted while I was typing. Self-driving is a distinct matter from electric propulsion. Electric propulsion is going to happen - it's already here, it just needs to spread across the market and the charging network continues to get built out. Self-driving is a whole different ball game ... and I don't think it's going to be "level 5" (i.e. no driver controls or instruments or anything of the sort - no provision for human operation) in the foreseeable future.

      As for the vehicle-sharing? There's a place for it in the market but I don't see it going across the board. My daily-driver car has all sorts of stuff in it that I carry day to day to job sites in the course of doing my job. I ain't loading all that into a rental car at the beginning of every day, offloading it ALL (instead of just what I need for that job site) for use during the day (because the shared car has to go to someone else while I work), reloading it all again at the end of the day, and offloading it all back home, because I don't have my own car. That is NOT happening. Likewise, the van has all sorts of weekend/camping stuff in it, and it stays there except when it's at the holiday destination. Vehicle-sharing doesn't fit either of these usage patterns.

    15. Moderator Harv's Avatar
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      12-05-2019 09:36 PM #14
      Cars will become disposable as cell phones. The iPhone 4 was cutting edge when it came out, now it is worthless on the used market. I think the same will happen with cars. Even look at some of the old Teslas. No one wants those anymore. There will be no nostalgia for a used electric car. Use it for 10 years, recycle it, and build new ones.

    16. Member ohiodub_99.5's Avatar
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      12-05-2019 09:50 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
      Unless self-driving with no accidents becomes a reality (self-driving will come but I’m really skeptical as to how quickly it’ll be made fool-proof) you’re still going to need crumple zones. All that bare chassis + coachbuilding stuff sounds fun, but IIHS and NHTSA will rake it over the coals unless it’s designed for safety the way today’s vehicles are.

      I see the hood and other vestigial ICE design elements staying for quite a bit.
      Meh, to a point... i mean the i3 has pretty darn good crash ratings despite the relative lack of a "real" hood/crumple zones....

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    17. Senior Member AZGolf's Avatar
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      12-05-2019 10:08 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by GoFaster View Post
      Self-driving is a distinct matter from electric propulsion. Electric propulsion is going to happen - it's already here
      So this matches what I was going to say after reading through a bunch of the replies. Sticking specifically to electrification, the 20's are going to be the decade that defined this moment in EVs in the same way that personal computers technically existed in the 70s and some kits in the 60s might have somewhat qualified, but the IBM PC in 1981 is what defined the point where personal computers truly took off. The Model 3 I think is very close on its own, but I think that all the EVs we see in the 20s are going to be what sees a personal computer-like mass adoption.

      In the same way that PCs weren't universal but they were certainly extremely common in the 80s, I think it will be similar for EVs. They might still only be 10-15% share of new car sales by 2029 but it will be well into the double digits one way or another, which is something that diesel never achieved in the US, for example. This new decade we're about to enter is going to be the one where we see a million EVs a year sold in the US for sure. I don't know exactly what year, but it wouldn't surprise me if somewhere around 2025 is when we see a major inflection point and certainly by '29 we'll have well over a million a year in new vehicle sales.

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      12-05-2019 10:11 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by ohiodub_99.5 View Post
      Meh, to a point... i mean the i3 has pretty darn good crash ratings despite the relative lack of a "real" hood/crumple zones....

      I honestly don't follow your point here. The i3 has a very normal looking hood and crumple zone in front of the driver compartment
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    19. 12-05-2019 10:24 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by Harv View Post
      Cars will become disposable as cell phones. The iPhone 4 was cutting edge when it came out, now it is worthless on the used market. I think the same will happen with cars. Even look at some of the old Teslas. No one wants those anymore. There will be no nostalgia for a used electric car. Use it for 10 years, recycle it, and build new ones.
      I don't think EVs will be any more "disposable" than cars already are. Some of the early, short-range (Focus, Golf, iMiEV, smart, early versions of Soul), with uncertain or known-bad battery degradation issues (Leaf!!) are already lumps on the used car market - because they're undesirable. The better ones that have a practical driving range and with proper battery temperature control (which is now known to be a requirement) should do okay, especially as mass-market acceptance improves (it's not there yet), and the charging network improves (ongoing), and it becomes recognized in general that battery longevity in a good EV (not a Nissan Leaf!) is no more of an issue than engine and transmission longevity in a combustion-engine vehicle (which is about how it is, for the better EVs).

      I would expect early Teslas to have poor resale value once the end of warranty approaches. They were not built well, and they are problematic and expensive to repair, and everyone knows it. And you can now get a new Model 3 that is functionally better than an early Model S for less money. High-end cars generally have high depreciation, and a Tesla Model S is no exception.

    20. 12-05-2019 10:39 PM #19
      We won't live to see it, My Beloved and I, but unless electrification results in a vehicle that we can drive and recharge with the same range and ease as our ICE vehicles, our explorations will change for the worse. We just undertook a 12,400 mile journey this summer that took us to northernmost Alaska and back down to Seward, via the Yukon, Klondike, British Columbia, and much of the northwestern US... With our only range anxiety being clouds of mosquitoes if accessing our Jerry cans full of gasoline in the absence of gas stations. If there is a way to renew electricity as easily as grabbing an extra container of it, providing another 100 miles or so of range, that would be a game changer for explorers of distant, remote areas like us... I'm fully aware we're outliers, and our worries might be shared by an infinitesimally-small percentage of drivers, but it's our cherished way of leisure life... Which electric vehicles cannot replicate at this stage of the game

    21. 12-05-2019 10:46 PM #20
      Due to relative lack of complexity, I can see a lot more custom builders buying a rolling chassis from Tesla (or whoever) and sticking their own bodies on.

      Depending on advances in battery tech and dry cells, they may be able to all hit 400 mile range. Supercharge the cars that have 1kV internals (i.e. 80% charge in 30 minutes).

      Not so much cars, but the whole dealership business is doomed. The maintenance/repair dept will have about 10% the work they do now. And that's a profit center for dealers

      Its going to mess up the power grid since greenies want to kill a lot of established power generation facilities.

    22. 12-05-2019 10:48 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by boogetyboogety View Post
      We won't live to see it, My Beloved and I, but unless electrification results in a vehicle that we can drive and recharge with the same range and ease as our ICE vehicles, our explorations will change for the worse. We just undertook a 12,400 mile journey this summer that took us to northernmost Alaska and back down to Seward, via the Yukon, Klondike, British Columbia, and much of the northwestern US... With our only range anxiety being clouds of mosquitoes if accessing our Jerry cans full of gasoline in the absence of gas stations. If there is a way to renew electricity as easily as grabbing an extra container of it, providing another 100 miles or so of range, that would be a game changer for explorers of distant, remote areas like us... I'm fully aware we're outliers, and our worries might be shared by an infinitesimally-small percentage of drivers, but it's our cherished way of leisure life... Which electric vehicles cannot replicate at this stage of the game

      It's happening. You'll be able to get 80% charge in 30 minutes. So go 400 miles, stop, charge for half an hour, then go 320 miles.

      If you can drive 320 miles without a half-hour break, you're pushing it way too much.

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      12-05-2019 10:49 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by Steavis View Post
      Its going to mess up the power grid since greenies want to kill a lot of established power generation facilities.
      Not to mention the extra strain on the outdated infrastructure.
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    24. Senior Member Mike!'s Avatar
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      12-05-2019 11:19 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by ohiodub_99.5 View Post
      Meh, to a point... i mean the i3 has pretty darn good crash ratings despite the relative lack of a "real" hood/crumple zones....

      i3 is an interesting but ultimately unique case. It uses aluminum crash structures in front and behind a CFRP passenger compartment.

      https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.plas...iber-body/amp/

      This is also why it costs $40k for a Golf-sized EV with significantly less range than a traditional hood & frunk Tesla. People also think it looks dorky and with accordant sales, it’s likely not getting a second generation. That doesn’t quite make it a poster child for how cars are going to look in an electric era.

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      12-05-2019 11:53 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by r_fostoria View Post
      It will take a while, but I can easily see the old "coach building" age returning after self-driving becomes the norm, in essence at least. In the early days of motoring, you could buy a Rolls-Royce chassis and drive train, and then send it off to a coach builder who would put a body on the chassis. Similarly, I can see having companies who can build self driving flat battery drivetrains, and then other companies who can take those chassis and build little camper trailer style mini living rooms on top of them.
      Definitely. This is what VW is doing with the MEB platform. Giving others a chance to build on their standard EV underpinnings. Ford will build on it, and in the next few months you will hear about others doing the same thing. I think VW has this game figured out nicely. Funny that you mentioned Coach building specifically, as I believe you will see some known coach builders announce cars next year built on the VW MEB.


    26. Member Dieselstation's Avatar
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      12-06-2019 12:53 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by Iroczgirl View Post
      Not to mention the extra strain on the outdated infrastructure.
      I dunno.. cost of Solar Panels are decreasing every day. Storage capacity of batteries are increasing everyday, and battery discharge performance are also getting better. Cheap/Free energy with longer range and better performance sounds like winners to me. Even new houses these days come with Solar already installed. I see it as a whole industry changing and the feared over-utilization of the power grid might not even be an issue.
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