4 Surprising Side Effects of Electric Autonomous Vehicles

June 3, 2018 6:03 am

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, From Chicago, I write about green technology, energy, environment. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

LAS VEGAS, NV – The Nissan IMx, an all-electric crossover concept vehicle offering fully autonomous operation and a driving range of more than 600 kilometers, is on display during CES 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center earlier this year. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

First of two parts

Electric autonomous vehicles are expected to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, traffic congestion, parking demand, insurance costs and traffic fatalities. They’ll eliminate the 90 percent of traffic accidents attributed to human error.

Those effects are well celebrated. But they will likely have some equally startling side effects, once the three trends of electric drive, connectivity and autonomy converge.

“Those three items collectively will lead to a big change in the way we travel,” said Edward J. Regan, senior vice president of the consulting firm CDM Smith. “The convergence of these things will have a big impact, and it’s going to affect people’s decisions on how they travel and if they choose to own a car.”

The big trigger point will come when vehicles achieve level-five autonomy, Regan said, operating completely driverless without geographic restrictions. When that happens, according to Regan and other experts at the Transport Chicago Conference in Chicago Friday, we’ll see side effects like these:

1 Cars Will Last Longer

Because they have fewer moving parts and don’t rely on explosive heat, electric vehicles are expected to last longer than internal combustion vehicles. According to Regan, they could last almost five times longer.

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