Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 11th Apr 2014 20:09 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces

There's certainly some hope on the horizon with Apple and Google, though just how good these systems will be remains to be seen. One thing is clear, though: the current state of all in-car experiences is incredibly bad. For those manufacturers looking to go it alone, I don't expect much.

In-car software is absolutely horrifying and crazy complex. A good friend of mine regularly drives brand new and super-expensive cars (in the hundreds of thousands of euros category), and even in those cars, the user interfaces are just terrible. There's a lot of room for improvement and disruption here.

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RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer
by saso on Sat 12th Apr 2014 22:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer"
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New battery/energy storage and energy transmission technologies are developing quickly right now. That field is very active and there has been a number of breakthrough that could become game-changers. If so, I could easily see the production, shipment, storage, sale, consumer use of `gas` becoming obsolete in favor of electric.

The key word here is "could" - we frankly don't know yet, as these technologies still have limitations and relying on unproven developments as your only option is always risky.
Anyhow, without specifics, I assume you're talking about lithium air batteries, which have much better energy density than lithium-ion (comparable to gasoline). While true, the primary limitation of BEVs is not just energy per unit mass - this has been amply demonstrated by the Tesla Model S and its 300 mile range. The primary limitations are:
1) Cost: capital costs for batteries are HIGH. This significantly influences the BEV value proposition.
2) Lifetime: battery packs age and ultimately go bad. Sure it can take a while (8-10 years with proper temperature management and optimal charging), but when they do, you're looking at a lot of money to replace them.
3) Charging: can you do a business trip of, say, 700-800 miles in a BEV? In a hydrocarbon powered car, easily. Stops only take 5-10 minutes every 400-500 miles, so most of the time you're zooming along and at 70mph average it'll take 10-12 hours tops. Using a BEV like a Tesla Model S, stopping optimally every 200 miles for a 45 minute recharge at a supercharger station is gonna add around 3 hours to that - the opportunity cost for that needs to be factored in. And that's assuming the current state of the art in charging (and pushing beyond 120kW charging is going to be hard), running along an optimal route (what if superchargers aren't available?) on a car that costs $70k. Now consider that any hydrocarbon powered vehicle can do the same, faster, while costing a fraction of a Model S. "Budget" BEVs (I mean, is $30k+ for a Nissan Leaf really "budget"?) can't even begin to approach the hydrocarbon car fleet here. You'd need to be stopping every ~70 miles (optimistic range for a new Leaf at highway speeds) for 45+ minutes at a 50kW CHADEMO fast charger and that'd add a good 7.5-8 hours extra (so around 18-20 hours total for the same trip, almost double).

However, we already know that technology, even when ready for mass-use, is often times shelved because oil & energy companies aren't finished squeezing every penny possible out of the old outdated stuff yet.

Take that conspiracy hat off and consider hard physics here for a while. Modern cars, be they hydrocarbon or electric, are starting to hit on the limits of what's physically possible. Quantum leaps are going to be extremely hard to achieve, primarily because these systems are already optimized as heck. This isn't IT, where exponential improvement is the norm.

Edited 2014-04-12 22:09 UTC

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