A Sneak Peak at Cars of the Future

Courtesy Money.CNN.Com

A friend sent me this article last night, about futuristic cars currently in development. GM has a crazy egg-shaped one; MIT has developed a car that will hopefully be used in an eco-city in the Basque Country (that one I was familiar with; MIT’s project on Mobility on Demand is one of the research showcases of the institute.  And its understandable; there are beautiful graphics explaining how the futuristic-looking car works and how it is going to revolutionize cities).

There are also tiny battery-powered cars designed for urban car sharing developed by Toyota (a pint-sized Scion) and Daimler.  The Daimler product, Car2Go, is already in use in San Diego and Austin, which I didn’t realize.  Move over, ZipCar!

All of these cars are itty-bitty little things, and while they include some tantalizing features, like the ability to drive themselves, it still seems like it might be a tough sell to Americans, at least as private cars.  On the other hand, most of them are being designed for sharing, which is, well, awesome.  I’m curious how much people are ultimately willing to share – while ZipCar has been a huge asset to the carless, I don’t think its convinced that many people to stay carless.  Could a better/cheaper/cuter design really reduce the number of cars on the r0ad, or would it just encourage people to switch from public transportation?  And if it can reduce the number of private cars, by how much?

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