As a reporter, I've covered a number of different industries...but as I talk to automotive tech suppliers, I am sort of dumbfounded how big a transformation the automotive industry is going through right now. It sure is an exciting time, but there are lots of worrisome issues I am sure that will keep automotive engineers awake at night in 2014.
There are many new ways the automotive industry can change. The bottom line is that they have to be reliable. The amount of time to build these changes into the car without having any reliability issues is huge. Don't expect these things to happen quickly. Quick implementation could spell disaster to the auto company.
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.
Replacing engine control unit or upgrading firmware of the unit is not really new in Asia. Car lovers in Japan or some other countries in Asia will find way to modify their car to make it more powerful. By modifying the engine control unit and air filter, a car can easily get over 20 HP.
I am sure the future of SD car will be more than console and hp improvement. As the technology evolution has ramped up quickly, auto makers are inevitably launched a safe and stable product while waiting for the feature upgrade to be released later.
'BMW is also giving i3 owners access to gas-powered loaner cars during days when they need a vehicle with more range, for example, on weekend trips or extended holidays. "Ninety percent of automobile usage is a short-drive needed for daily commute," said Adlkofer.'
I think it should be other way round.
People commuting to the office or to supermarkets should be encouraged to use EVs . This can be achieved by creating a pool of EVs that can be just taken from the roadside parking lots on hire and left at any other convenient parking lot after use.
Such kind of public transport using EVs will make the daily commuting less polluting.
The local government bodies or the EV companies like BMW can manage such car pools of EVs and charge on pay per use basis.
The parking lots can have charging stations to charge the batteries of the car while idle in the parking lot.
The EV industry should seriously look at this alternative to make EVs popular, affordable and contribute to the green environment.
Not sure how many men would like to buy a car looking not into its performance but into the dashboard or software status. I agree many women would prefer that. But yes if you are a office goer and want it for daily commute, it makes more sense to have a car with good dashboard looks, high end software because ultimately when you go/comeback from office or stuck in traffic this can relax you. Definitely performance wont matter at that time. But if you drive on highway for long hours performance takes a preference and good softwrae definitely wont hurt.
@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.
The top request on my list is for a source of substantial 120 / 240 volt power (as an emergency generator) from my car. It makes no sense to pay thousands for a powerful emergency generator that is used once or twice a year when my quiet powerful car is parked at the house. I have a friend who have modified a Toyota Prius to be an emergency generator for an house; it ran for a week on 5 gallons of gas (turning on as the battery ran low and shutting off when it was recharged). Car companies who offer the 120 / 240 volt emergency power option could charge $500 and they'd take over the emergency power generator market overnight. With a ~$600 "GenerLink" meter transfer switch on the home electric meter, the emergency generator can be safely connected to the home electrical system without rewiring the house or risking dangerous energy feedback into the grid. I can't wait to connect my house .... just waiting for the car. I hear they've been made available in Japan.
Wait, DrQuine, are you talking about a hybrid, or are you talking a regular car?
I can't say about the hybrid, but your typical car generator (13.5 V) generates at best about 100 amps. I looked it up. So that means, with the engine running pretty fast, the car's generator can only produce 1350 W of power for your house, which is really not enough.
And it would be far from quiet. It's not just idling. And worse, I'd worry about overheating and other such, when a car is sitting still revving the engine for hours and hours on end.
I suppose that an extra cost option, with bigger generator, bigger radiator, and so on, would be a possibility. But I would kind of cringe at the thought of my car running unattended like that, all night long. Unless it was designed for that.
Yes, the large battery hybrids are the vehicles that have the high voltage, high capacity batteries and charging systems that make the generator option easy. With a conventional battery, getting 10 amps at 120 volts means that you have to draw 100 amps at 12 volts which takes serious cables and the voltage drops become a big issue over any distance at all. Hybrids [e.g. Toyota Prius] also have the autostart capability as the stored energy drops to recharge the batteries.
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.
House power demands obviously fluctuate but during peak demand the battery is likely to run down and require the engine. My colleague said he went a week on a Prius and used 5 gallons of gas to power his house so the car probably ran an average of an hour a day. Compared with the noise made by most home generators, the car noise would be quite modest (and the car is already paid for and maintained). People here pay $100 a year for their "portable" generator to be transported to a power equipment dealer for an annual tune-up (which probably costs an additional $100+). They still cannot be depended upon when the power fails and make a great deal of noise.
Just as any other industry (PC, mobile, TV, etc.) has experienced thus far, I think software will make a huge difference for cars -- not only in their time to market but all the bells and whistles to come with it.
Of course, you don't need all the distractions for drivers, but you do need a UI with clarity and simplicity -- which can, again, be experimented in the software-defined car.
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.