2017: The Year the Future Arrives

Think back five years.

The year was 2012. It wasn’t that long ago, but in terms of advancements in the auto industry, it was an eternity. After doing a quick Google search for “car trends 2012,” I found a quaint little article from January of that year in the USA Today with the headline “Five auto trends that will shake up 2012.”

The article mentioned things like stop/start engine technology, multiple air bags, smaller gas-powered engines, and simple infotainment controls.

Earth-shattering stuff, right?

Compare that list to what to expect for 2017 and you’d think we jumped ahead 20 years, not just five. Here’s where we are now.

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Newsflash: Electric Cars Are Here!

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A lot of people don’t realize this, but it’s possible, right now, to head to a local dealer and drive home in an electric car. You, being an informed and educated car guru, are likely well aware of this. Up to 60 percent of the American public, however, don’t realize that plug-in electric cars are a thing.

Last summer I drove a brand new Nissan Leaf onto a local community college campus to help set up an event. The response from people that day was complete disbelief that a car could run so silently.

“It’s electric,” I said.

“Electric? Like you plug it in?”

“Yup.”

“So it doesn’t need gas?”

“Nope.”

Most of the folks I spoke with that day didn’t know about electric cars. As it turns out, most people in America don’t either.

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Buy a Bolt and Fund a Tahoe?

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

What if the fledgling electric car industry was just a ruse to sell more earth-polluting fossil fuel-powered trucks and SUVs? The federal government’s fleet fuel-economy requirements and the California Air Resources Board’s ZEV credits aren’t just creating a small market for EVs, they’re fueling the fire for gas-powered vehicles that defeat the purpose of EVs.

Case in point is the new Chevy Bolt, a masterpiece EV that finally makes a practical vehicle with a 200-mile range accessible to the majority of the car-buying population.

Those who buy one, though, may not be saving the planet, but subsidizing the sale of gas-guzzlers.

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Electric Cars: Thriving in an Artificial Market?

2017 Chevrolet Bolt

Are electric cars being force-fed to an unwilling American public? Through the first 11 months of 2016, Americans have purchased about 130,000 electric vehicles. That sounds pretty impressive, until you compare that to the nearly 16 million cars sold in the U.S. so far this year.

While it feels like electric cars are gaining traction here, the truth is that they account for only a tiny fraction of total sales and hold a minuscule portion of market share.

So why are automakers continually announcing plans for new electric cars and touting them as the future of American transportation?

Because California says so.

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Donald Trump’s Presidency Won’t Impact Car-Buying Decisions for EV Shoppers

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Concerns about America’s future have run rampant since the night of November 8th, 2016. Suddenly, we’ve come to see our own social-media-driven bubbles, the emergence and impact of fake news, and how easy it is to accept what we already believe while adopting blinders for anything else. Questions have arisen regarding how the American government will amend laws surrounding health care, taxation, and even the auto industry.

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What Are We Thankful For? Automotive Evolution

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Remember when Tesla was just a small startup company with a big dream? Very few people saw the potential for electric cars. GM had killed its original electric project, the EV1, and batteries were seen as an inefficient alternative to plentiful gasoline.

The Tesla Roadster was built for a very small niche of people who wanted the novelty of an electric sports car.

Compare the Tesla of 2009 with the Tesla of 2016, and it’s astonishing to see the growth of the company and the widespread acceptance of its automobiles.

Not only has Tesla represented the evolution toward electricity, it has spurred a revolution in automotive engineering.

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Tired of Gas? Find Relief with These Alternative Fuels

Gas may be cheap these days, but untethering from the local Citgo is still an attractive idea. For many, electricity is the obvious choice when opting out of gas cars. Tesla continues to be the dominant and popular choice in this realm, although Chevrolet is preparing to launch the all-electric Bolt (and its 200-mile range) before the end of 2016, and the Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV, and Ford Focus Electric, among others, are currently available at more reasonable prices than the higher-end Tesla cars.

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Thanks Obama: 48 Ways to Cross the U.S. in an Electric Car

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The dream of driving an electric car on an all-American road trip just moved a little closer to reality.

The Obama Administration yesterday announced new actions designed to give owners of electric cars access to a majority of the country.

In its announcement, the White House said,

By working together across the Federal government and with the private sector, we can ensure that electric vehicle drivers have access to charging stations at home, at work, and on the road – creating a new way of thinking about transportation that will drive America forward.

The plan includes 48 electric vehicle charging corridors spanning 25,000 miles of highway in 35 states and the District of Columbia. The electrified routes will place recharging stations at 50 mile intervals at a minimum, meaning all current EVs on the road will be able to reach them.

Is this the major step forward it appears to be?

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Should Gas Engines Be Banned?

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That headline might have served as a teaser to get people to click just a few short years ago. In today’s world, though, technology advances at the speed of light, and a ban on internal combustion engines is a very real possibility.

Granted, it won’t happen overnight, and any such ban would be phased in over many years, but the wheels could already be in motion thanks to the speed at which electric vehicles are being developed.

For proof, all we have to do is look across the Atlantic toward the homeland of Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz.

Yes, Germany may become the first country to ban the sale of cars with gas-powered engines.

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