There has never been a more interesting time to write about cars. Yes, we had interesting alternative fuel concept cars to admire and drive ten and twenty years ago but in the main they were nothing more than occasional distractions from the daily business for us and for their manufacturers.

But today when we drive something futuristic like the Peugeot BB1 we know that the future is only a few years away and that cars involving some of this technology will make it to the showroom.

But I have a prediction to make. I suspect that around 2012-2014, when production electric cars will be coming en masse from Renault, Mitsubishi, Mercedes, Mini and others, we will have a cooling off period on electric cars. It’ll only be temporary, until new battery technology gives us ranges of 400 miles or more (which seems likely around 2020), but it will happen.

Customers will realise that the economics don’t work too well and that having a vehicle that needs charging after 100 miles or so is a nuisance. But more than any shortcomings with electric cars, it is ongoing improvements in internal combustion-engined vehicles that will put temporary mockers on electric power.

Already dozens of cars can easily average over 50mpg; quite a few over 60mpg and a handful even more. And that’s after the industry has spent only the last couple of years really making an effort. Within a couple of years we’ll have cars achieving even better economy. We have barely scratched the surface.

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