Going electric makes a lot of economical sense.
Self-driving cars are the future of the automobile industry. Cruise, a self-driving car company is building one of the largest electric vehicle fast-charging hubs in San Francisco’s Bayview district. With 25 fast chargers and 50 ports, Cruise’s upcoming robotaxi service, a Uber-style ride-hailing service with electric cars will use these charging points to charge throughout.
While this project is speculated to have some hurdles in its way, the fact is that self-driving cars are not commercially operating at the moment. But the detailed plan for this project represents the future of electric vehicles, autonomous technology for shared transportation. It also lays the foundation for an important tenet for the autonomous car industry, which is that the self-driving cars should be electric.
Robert Grant, Senior Vice President of governmental affairs and social impact at Cruise said in an interview, “Fifteen years from now we can’t transform autonomous vehicles into electric vehicles. We need to be all-electric now.” He also described this project as “at the heart of our urgent action.”
Within the company, every vehicle hereafter will be electric. Cruise’s majority owner and carmaker partner GM is giving the vehicles which include their all-electric, driverless car The Origin, designed for shared ride-hailing.
Not only Cruise, Google’s self-driving car company, Waymo, is using all-electric cars for its fleets too. Around last year, Google’s Waymo started operating the robotaxi service to the public in Phoenix.
Lyft and Uber are popular choices for cab services in major parts of the world. They too are in the process of converting some portion of their human-driver cab service networks to electric vehicles over the next decade. While both the companies have invested in self-driving car technology for the past few years, Uber sold off its self-driving car division last year.
Rober Grant says, “ We’ve issued a challenge for the rest of the industry.” What is that challenge? Urging emerging taxi and robotaxi services to go electric from the inception.
It’s not just Cruise that is stressing about this change. California Senator Dave Min introduces SB 500, which requires all autonomous vehicles to be zero-emission vehicles by 2025. That’s not far off. The bill is backed by the Union of Concerned Scientists and would have an impact on self-drivingcab services but also autonomous delivery and trucking services.
Why Is Going Electric So Important?
Obviously, electric cars are a solution to the detrimental environmental impact of conventional petrol and diesel cars. But that’s not the only benefit. Electric cars are 75% efficient in converting input energy into kinetic energy, as opposed to conventional vehicles with internal combustion engines that are only 25% efficient.
At a place where millions of people drive cars, electric vehicles will lead to decreased air pollution due to reduced carbon emissions.
Once electric cars will become the go-to means of transport for the general public and self-driving car companies, the increased demand for a reliable energy source for the car will result in the growth of renewable sources of energy like solar and wind. This will also solve the problem of fluctuating fuel prices.