It seems that software in the car has somewhat plateaud over the years and we're now way past due for the kind of transformation everyone's been waiting for. Over the next few years, end users are sure to see the kind of key changes in the UI that we've heard of on this site lately, but until then I wonder if carmakers aren't falling behind manufacturers in other industries by taking their time in this transition.
The downloadable UI would prove popular with many drivers, but the security challenges are enormous. We've had connected computers for about 20 years now, and yet the problem of malware infection shows no signs of going away.
Okay, however in that case, I'm not sure how quiet the car would be.
An efficient car needs something on the order of 12-14 HP to travel at a steady 50 mph. When a car is running at 50 mph, the engine is hardly quiet. Of course, as long as a hybrid is running on battery juice alone, it's quiet, but when you're powering home HVAC, kitchen, lights, and appliances, you're not going to benefit from any regenerative braking. So the engine in that Prius will be running at least some of the time, when the load is substantial.
So, 12 to 14 HP translates to 8.9 to 10.3 KW. A generator sized to run your house, without a lot of rewirirng to switch off heavy loads during a power outage, needs at least 7 KW. So we're in the same ballpark. I don't think you can assume the car will be idling out there in the driveway. Not much of the time anyway, especially if you live in an all-electric house, with heat pump, electric hot water heating, and running HVAC in summer or winter.
@sheetal, i know. It does sound idiosyncratic for anyone wanting a new car not based on performance but on dashboard.
And yet, when all things were equal, consumers -- young and old included -- do make choices, sometimes, based on what they care about most in their everyday life: your car's connectivity to smartphones or to the outside world, not to mention the size of a cup holder inside car...
@Prabhakar, I think you raise an intersting question here. If cars are being used just for commuting, whouldn't we be looking at car pooling (or mass transportation), rather than EVs?
You are absolutely right.
But I think some people still like "owning" things. And if they do want to own an EV, one of the key reasons stopping them from doing so is the range anxiety.
In fact, I think it's quite genius, on the part of BMW, to come up with this idea -- let people buy and "own" an EV, and when the EV's range becomes an issue, the carmaker will let you give you a loaner with combustion engine.