Autonomous driving = greater technical hurdles for electric vehicles.

Autonomous driving = greater technical hurdles for electric vehicles.

In my other thread, the argument often came up that long range is not necessary 95% of the time. However in future there will be driverless technology and people will rent cars rather than buy one.

The car will arrive and drop you off at the desired location. Then it will drive to the next customer and repeat the process.

Instead of the car sitting idle it will be in use 99% of the time. Any stop to recharge or refuel is wasted money, as the car could be performing its taxi service and earning money for the owner.

Thus long ranged vehicles are essential for the economics of transportation in the future.

However I do have to concede that electric vehicles and cheaper electricity are a huge advantage if you drive many many miles (assuming favourable battery degradation statistics).

Anyway: Long distance electric vehicles will be needed when driverless technology matures. Because this will be off by another 20 years probably, battery engineers and innovators still have time to make 600 mile ranged vehicles ;).

Of course quicker recharging goes hand in hand with this.

Näky | 11. Juli 2014

I agree in some points. I still think that autonomous (taxis?) cars would have peak use time at commuting hours, so most of those cars would be idle and charging anyway off peak hours. Dividing peoples to haves and havenots, the first part like to own their luxury rides even they don't need to drive them selves.

I don't touch other points now.

DaphneGreen | 11. Juli 2014

Cars in the city do not make sense to me. Subways and buses are much more efficient for transporting people. Maybe we'll even have street cars again.

pvandeloo.ipod | 11. Juli 2014

"I agree in some points. I still think that autonomous (taxis?) cars would have peak use time at commuting hours, so most of those cars would be idle and charging anyway off peak hours."

Good Point.

Grinnin'.VA | 11. Juli 2014

@DaphneGreen | JULY 11, 2014 wrote:

Cars in the city do not make sense to me. Subways and buses are much more efficient for transporting people. Maybe we'll even have street cars again.

FYI, a modest street car system is being built in Washington, DC right now. They have built part of the tracks and begun testing the first cars.

Ron :)

Brian H | 12. Juli 2014

On busy routes, subways etc. are fine. But try standing in the snow or baking sun for 20 minutes on a suburban route waiting. And then find that one bus (yours) has been skipped to redirect elsewhere, or had a breakdown. And the next one is jammed to the gills. Etc. And the nearest it can get you to your destination is a long walk.

Public transport is a necessity, but not adequate for many needs and situations. A common one, a bulky shopping load to maneuver home. Or any trip after hours, when the buses etc. stop.

Rocky_H | 14. Juli 2014

Some people have a very myopic view that everyone lives in huge cities. In smaller towns and cities, where there is almost no public transit, cars are THE thing, and almost every household has at least one vehicle, because it's really hard to get around without. I have never lived in a city that had a subway or train system, and bus "systems" have been barely there so that they are really inconvenient. (40 minutes to an hour between scheduled runs, service stopping at 6PM, etc.)

Sin_Gas | 14. Juli 2014

Many experiences with mass transit are not good. However New York, Boston, and Wash. DC have excellent Metro systems. The suburbs, well that a different story. They can work pretty well. Took one to pick up my BEV. It was fine.

Oh, and BTW: They are EV's.

Sin Gas

tezzla.SoCal | 15. Juli 2014

There is no "rush hour" in Los Angeles; it's busy/slow from 6am to 7pm.

DonS | 15. Juli 2014

Public transportation is efficient but rarely convenient. People will pay significantly more for door-to-door capability.

The speed of recharging is purely an economic issue. There is a cost for supercharging capability, but more vehicles will be needed if charging is slower. Businesses will run the numbers to figure out which is cheaper.

grega | 15. Juli 2014

The size of the battery in an auto-drive Taxi economy will cease to be about range (and range anxiety), and instead be about the economics of
* multiple shorter chargers vs fewer long charges
* speed to charge up with an extra 100miles of range (big batteries can fast charge more quickly).
* need to "hold out" so a car can charge at specific (low cost) times

Different battery sizes might affect number of cars needed to service an area due to the above.
As a passenger you just call a car and it gets you there.

Oh and for public transport, the auto-drive taxis or shared cars can optimise public transport. Simple access to the train stations from your door to the platform, without worrying about parking or asking your partner to drive you.

holidayday | 16. Juli 2014

tezzla: "There is no "rush hour" in Los Angeles; it's busy/slow from 6am to 7pm."

I got stuck in traffic at 1 AM. (on the 405)

DTsea | 16. Juli 2014

Streetcars... we are building them in seattle.

Pro: smoother ride than a bus, cheaper than light rail and subway

Con- tracks cause bike accidents, they are still pretty expensive- about $50M per mile.... and on road so slow.

People who say you don't need a car in the city must live in New York or must not have kids.

pvandeloo.ipod | 16. Juli 2014

Autonomous driving changes the game for energy density required and charging times required.

1) Much higher speeds on highways worldwide due to saftey considerations being fullfilled. Autobahn speeds will be the norm or seem low.

At these higher speeds energy density of batteries and thus range of electric vehicles will have to increase by a factor of 3-4.

2) Inner City taxis will be in motion non stop as one of the goals is to reduce the time a car is unused and thus reduce the number of vehicles needed.

This again means higher energy density and or quicker recharging is required for electric vehicles.

People choosing to travel during "rush hour" times will pay a higher fee. This will steer travelling patterns in the right direction and reduce the number of traffic jams.

3) Inter City travel will also be dominated by autonomous taxis. They will travel between cities picking up travelers at city A and dropping them off at city B and then repeating the process by picking up a customer in city B and dropping them off at city A.

Again high energy densities and quick recharging are needed.

Just the higher average speed will mean that todays target energy densities will soon be too low.

Näky | 16. Juli 2014

When taxis are truly autonomous and part of "individualized" mass transport looks of vehicle is not meaningful anymore. Designs could be done utilitarian way for different purposes. For one person transport Litmotors C1 type of vehicle might be best and cheapest. 2-4-6+ seaters might be useful instead single model(like London black cab).

Highway speeds might increase, but only when number of human element on the road is low enough.

I don't see battery technology as a problem, current level of technology development increase capacity enough till truly autonomous vehicles are ready for the roads. If bussinescase for autonomous taxis is opening price of car couple tens of thousands up or down shouldn't be relevant. So enough batteries could be put on those cars that need them. Advanced algorihms and system operators/supervisors would control fleets recharging. At city speeds usual daily travel for single unit would hardly be over 500 km. For timely service idle cars are necessary evil. When low on battery level even 5-10 minutes in sc-like charging point would give 100+ km more range, all fleet would be at maximum needed charge every morning anyway.

If those car were dirt cheap quite many would buy one for themselves.

SamO | 16. Juli 2014


They shut down lanes and freeways late at night. It's a crapshoot.

draconious_z | 16. Juli 2014

Does everyone actually WANT to see autonomous cars? I feel I have to say that I do NOT... They may have cars doing it, but there are so many hazards and unpredictable things while driving... I just do not think computers are that reliable yet, GPS and maps are not that accurate, and someone is bound to find a way to figuratively speaking, cartoon the yellow line in the road into a fake tunnel painted on a brick wall...

I can maybe see it happening if the roads had slot car track type groves, or maybe cars that are controlled by a remote valet or chauffeur.

pvandeloo.ipod | 16. Juli 2014

cars use gps as well as built in sensors and laser. already googles car is a lot safer than almost any driver. even if terrorists succeed in haking the system the lives and resources saved will dwarf any victims list of such an attack.

Haeze | 16. Juli 2014

I find it odd that people think autonomous taxis will cause BEVs to need higher range and faster charging... I see the technology as enabling the EXACT opposite. Charge times will no longer be a factor at all, and capacity will be a lot LESS of a requirement.

With the car being able to charge itself, there is no longer a need for a human to waste any time at a charging station location. The Taxi picks people up and drops them off where they request. Once the taxi drops off its occupants, if the battery is below the "charge me" threshold, it drives itself to a charger and charges. Anyone requesting a taxi while that one is charging simply gets serviced by another taxi with a higher charge.

With autonomous taxis, you will also see a change in the "stand on the street corner waving at cars" behavior. You will now 'call' a car using a phone app, web app, or kiosk on the side of the road. All of these will require a pickup location, and destination, so the car will already know if it has enough charge to make the trip before it ever goes to pick you up. If it doesn't have enough, then it isn't assigned the fare and another car makes the trip instead. This means the onboard energy storage does not have to be as high, since all trips will be local. For any of the less-common long-distance trips, you will have a small fleet of autonomous vehicles that either have extremely large batteries, or that simply run on another fuel source. They would only respond to a request for a vehicle if the planned route was longer than the short-range BEV taxis could travel.

Also, with autonomous taxis, battery swap technologies would not be as impractical, since the owner of the taxi is not as concerned about making sure they keep the battery that was purchased with the car. They would be much more apt to use a network of autonomous battery swapping stations than a personal car owner would be. Thus, you could use a BEV capable of cross-country travel, that would only have to pull over for 30-second pit-stops along the way, while you sit in the car oblivious to the machinations around you.

pvandeloo.ipod | 16. Juli 2014


the problem with your analysis is that the taxi company owner wants his capital to not sit idle but instead pick up one customer after the next. If the cars has to sit idle for long periods of time the owner has to either buy more cars or service less customers.

If given the choice he will buy a fleet that has the ability to service customers without interuption. this only changes when the price of electric vehicles drops significantly or the technology issues are solved, especially charging times.

lastky i expect that quite s number of people will still own their car because they want the freedom of spontaneous travel. for long ranged trips the car will have to be able to get significant range at very high speeds.