Electric Vehicles & Self-Driving Cars will change our world forever

Odds are likely that if you aren't shopping for a new vehicle now that you probably will be within the next three to five years. The choices used to be easier than they are now and recent headlines are complicating our buying decision by giving us more to desire. Make that crave, especially in the electric vehicles (EV) and self-driving arenas. I am already craving some of the current technology rolling out of car factories across the world and the future is so bright, I'm already wearing the shades.

Hyundai Electric Vehicle

Recent news releases by both Hyundai and Kia are likely to muddy the minds of those considering an EV. They're floating serious teasers about features available in our not-too-distant futures like self-parking and self-charging. I'm drooling at the possibilities. Why can't this happen next week???!!!

My personal vision of having it all in an auto is one that doesn't toss a lot of pollutants into the air, it's got to get great gas mileage and doesn't force me to dig deep ... way deep into my pockets to get on down the highway. I also don't want to sit at charging stations for half the day waiting for the EV to get fully charged.

Wait! It's got to drive itself too. Not just down the block or across town, I want to plug in a destination into the EV's computer and have that vehicle go until it needs to be recharged and/or refueled. Hey, why not be able to watch a movie, play some virtual reality games, work on an important business presentation, take a nap or get some serious sleep between between here and there? For instance, take off from Denver and reach Las Vegas somewhere between 14 and 15 hours later without needing to touch the wheel unless one chooses otherwise.

Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion Concept Car

We're not quite there yet, but we are well on our way. Mercedes-Benz F015 (concept) or a similar concept car such as one of Volvo's next generation SUV's is likely to be the car of my dreams. I'll punch in my destination and not give a thought to traffic or bad attitude drivers.

We are rapidly moving from Level 3 (you drive in standby mode) into Level 4 (enter destination and pretty much do what you want -- including take the wheel if you want) driving autonomy. Level 5 will eventually follow -- no human required and no restrictions on where it can go. Does that include icy/snowy roads? Fog so thick you can't see more than six inches in front of your face? We shall see.

There are plenty of challenges yet to be overcome -- especially in the battery and charging realms. Expect major advances in battery storage technology allowing us to drive further. Charging has gone from an overnight adventure down to four hours for some models and Kia's 2018 Soul EV can reach 80% charge in only 30 minutes. That is major progress. They've got to do better to meet current motorist's needs. We expect to be fully charged and ready to get back on the road within 15-20 minutes and we can expect that goal will be eventually met.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Current EV charging stations look like they're equipped with handles resembling gasoline and diesel nozzles -- but with an electric cord instead. New versions are going wireless. Park your car on a charging pad and get the juice you need. That process is slower than plugging in but we can also expect major advances there, again in the very near future.

Consider that forty years ago very few people had computers in their homes. Now we're surrounded by them. Only dreamers of the time could envision modern day smartphones. I grew up believing that cars would eventually be both electric and autonomous. It won't be long now. All that's missing in that picture of youth is a sky filled with flying cars.

Story Resources

Hyundai and Kia Tease Self-Parking, Self-Charging Cars

Move over Tesla, this self-driving car will let you sleep or watch a movie during your highway commute

F 015 Luxury in Motion Concept Car