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[2]: Comment by ilovebeer
by saso on Sat 12th Apr 2014 12:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ilovebeer"
saso
Member since:
2007-04-18

"Tech in cars is here to stay whether you like it or not.

Agreed. Especially considering that migrating to electric motors is inevitable; we'll have to abandon fossil fuel sooner or later.
"
No, we'll just have to stop using fossil fuels, which however does not necessarily mean abandoning the venerable ICB. Hydrocarbon fuels can be manufactured nowadays from a variety of sources, and have definite advantages to battery-electric cars:
1) They are extremely energy dense.
2) They are liquid at room temperature and ambient pressure.
3) All of the infrastructure for shipping, handling and selling them is already in place.
4) Consumers and society at large already knows how to deal with them in day-to-day life.
So don't underestimate hydrocarbon molecules' potential for being a very good store of energy. In fact, cars' gas tanks and BEVs' batteries are all essentially the same thing: chemical storage for energy. Except in one case, the energy comes out as heat and in the other as free electrons, either of which can be used to do work.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Sat 12th Apr 2014 15:15 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ilovebeer"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

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.

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. Consumption is the name of the game and the more efficient things are, the less profit they see. Giving us the latest & greatest works against their business model therefore the latest & greatest gets shelved to collect dust.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by ilovebeer
by saso on Sat 12th Apr 2014 22:05 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by ilovebeer"
saso Member since:
2007-04-18

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

Reply Parent Score: 3