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Why the Future of Cars is Electric

Why the Future of Cars is Electric


I was invited here, to Munich, by BMW the sponsor of this video to find out why the future of cars is electric. But electric cars are actually nothing new — they date back to 1832, well before the first gasoline-powered car. In fact, the first car to go faster than a hundred kilometers per hour was in 1899, an electric one, called the Jamais Contente, meaning “never satisfied”. But people were apparently satisfied with electric cars. By 1910, they were almost twice as common on American roads as internal combustion engines. But then came the Model T, which at $650 was significantly cheaper than comparable electric cars and as gas stations popped up around the country, they could be quickly refueled, allowing you to travel farther, faster, and cheaper than electric cars, which took a long time to recharge. So by 1935, the electric vehicle had been commercially obliterated. But electric cars were still useful for some things: in the vacuum of space, an electric vehicle was the obvious choice for the Apollo lunar roving vehicle. It was a single-use vehicle due to its non rechargeable silver zinc potassium hydroxide battery, and it had a range of just 92 kilometers. But the astronauts never needed even half of this range. At the Munich Olympics in 1972, to lead marathon runners in their race, BMW created an electric version of its two series car. The car ran on 12 large car batteries for a maximum range of 60 kilometers, or 37 miles. This demonstrated the benefits of electric vehicles: they can run quietly with no emissions. But it also illustrated their limitations: with the battery technology available at the time, electric cars were expensive and short-range, impractical for everyday use. So why are electric cars the future? In 2020, BMW is launching the IX3 all-electric sport utility vehicle, and they plan to have 25 electrified vehicles in their fleet by 2023. A lot of their concept cars, like the Vision M Next, are electric vehicles and they have a Formula-E car which can now run a whole race on a single battery pack. This is all made possible by developments in battery technology. Batteries have gotten a lot better, particularly with the introduction of lithium ion batteries. First used in mobile phones about 30 years ago, lithium ion batteries have almost two times more energy in the same volume than the next-best battery chemistry. Because of their use in many consumer products like phones and laptops, their manufacturing costs continue to decline, driven by manufacturing and supply chain optimization. Over the last three decades, the energy density has increased both per unit mass and per unit volume, while the price has plummeted. This is unlike internal combustion engines which, after a century of development, have few areas left for improvement. And the reality is, you don’t really travel that far in a car. The batteries available today are good enough for all but the longest road trips. In the US, 99% of trips are under 160 kilometers, or 100 miles. And electric cars are just better vehicles. Here are my top 10 reasons why: First: more torque from a standstill. 2. Thanks to the batteries under the floor, they have a low center of mass and so better handling. 3. Since you can drive electric motors independently, you can have precise control over each wheel for maximum traction. 4. Electric cars are quieter. 5. Electric cars are cheaper to run than gas cars, because gas is more expensive than electricity for the same distance traveled. 6. Electric cars are more efficient than gas cars, both in converting stored energy into energy of motion and in regenerating some of that energy when braking. 7. You never have to visit a gas station, because you can recharge at home. 8. There’s less maintenance: fewer moving parts, no oil changes, and the brakes wear out less often thanks to regenerative braking. 9. And depending on the source of electricity, in my case, solar panels, electric cars don’t produce any CO2 at all, so they don’t contribute to climate change. Plus, as cars become essentially computers on wheels, electric vehicles are leading the way towards self-driving cars. Alright we’re gonna start our ride in an autonomous vehicle, my first time ever: Level 4 autonomy. Once this becomes commonplace, it’s likely we’ll change how we see cars: from something we own that sits idle for most of its existence, to transportation as a service, something we ride in to get from point A to point B, and something we share with others. There are still a lot of details to work out, but it’s clear to me that the future of cars is electric, autonomous, and shared.

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81 thoughts on “Why the Future of Cars is Electric

  1. Judging from the comments and likes:dislikes, I missed the mark with this video. 
    I just want to make it clear that the failing was my own and not because of any brand talking points. They asked me what I wanted to talk about and I said 'how electric cars are the future.' They gave me total control over the script and video and didn't ask me to change a thing. Personally I didn't think this video was too branded because it's about electric cars in general. I drive an electric car and I like it a lot.

    I see a lot of the comments concerned that I didn't talk about the negatives of electric cars. That's because this video is about why electric cars are the future, not 'why electric cars have some challenges to overcome'. Some people interpret the lack of negatives like I was only allowed to say positive things. That's not true.

    Obviously in hindsight I should have talked about: 
    Electric cars are still expensive – sure but as I noted battery costs are coming way down and they're cheaper to run

    Electric cars produce more CO2 to manufacture than gas cars – but they compensate within 1-5 years by being more efficient and producing less to run

    Lithium mining isn't great for the environment – true but no mining is great for the environment (it takes a lot to make any car) and we can recycle the batteries a lot more cheaply than going back to mining the raw material. New battery designs are also reducing the amount of rare metals required.

    For long road trips you do need to take pit stops around charging stations.

    If you're thinking about people charging at night, how does that affect the electricity grid? I personally think it's a good thing because it evens out demand, which is usually highest during the day.

    Hydrogen fuel cell cars – this is just something I personally don't see happening because there's not enough existing infrastructure. Electricity is everywhere, easily charge at your house. Hydrogen is not. When I was graduating college in 2004 hydrogen fuel cell cars were meant to be right around the corner. They're still very fringe.

  2. If you want to help combat climate change, becoming vegan, or at least,
    vegetarian, is more effective as animal agriculture is responsible for
    the production of the majority of greenhouse gases.

  3. that last point is pretty crazy. so nobody will own cars and they will just be parked someone when not in use and all cars on the road will be like an uber without a driver going from point a to b picking up different people.

  4. Just gonna say that putting more electronics into a car is garbage. That means the car will have more faults that will no doubtfully be more expensive to repair. Just one example I can give (on top of many) is that I had a 96 Chevy Malibu and if the front turn signal light burnt out then my cruise control would stop working till I replaced that bulb. Yes, going all electric would be cool but keep in mind to cost and much harder it has become to do a repair at home (if possible) or to a auto shop.

  5. I don't want a future where i can't own anything, I'll pass on the whole socialist utopia car sharing thing. I just hope people realize that and make sure to fight off collectivization, the last times that happened wasn't good for anyone

  6. You should compare the price of charging an electric car with filling up the car with heating oil. Electric cars are only cheap, because they evade the tax that you have to pay on gas.

  7. I found the content clear and straightforward. I'd rather blame the comments on cognitive dissonance (electric cars are cleaner*/ smarter/ the rational choice, my car is not, I feel disconfort) and normative behaviours (as there are others being critic, it's easier to me to become a part of this group than to confront them). That's just an idea. Please keep doing videos, you are a great comunicator.

  8. Induction technology can be install in parking lots under the ground and in traffic light road under the ground where vehicles temporarily stop. This way electric vehicles can be charged while in parking lot or at traffic light stop signal via induction if it is doable.

  9. Self driving will certainly make ride sharing. More common but people will still demand the convenience of owning their own that they don't have to share.

  10. Derek, just so you know, I enjoyed it. you only mentioned BMW at the beginning, I don't know why people are so upset. Keep it up!

  11. I don't see it. I think for cities they will be ok.There is a whole industry of people who like to modify cars and engines. In Australia there are long distances people travel.with trucks, buses, suv's and caravans into remote areas. How is that going to work? I don't see it.
    Hydrogen fuel would be good but it seems like a pipe dream.
    The Australian Federal Government still talks about new clean coal power stations.
    The thing in Australia is distance that kills all these "bright ideas". Most of these ideas you need to be well off to take advantage of.
    A hundred thousand plus dollars for a Tesla is obscene. Try again. Until the poorest people have access to everything the rich and super rich do, I cannot take any of this seriously. It is just a load of horseshit.

  12. lol @ "concept electric cars by bmw" bmw is so far behind like the rest of the gas guzzlers, the poor fools just flat out refuse to give up those oil bucks. Even right now, the gas guzzler car companies are fighting Tesla tooth and nail messing with the stocks at a loss of over 10 billion dollars per quarter to try and slow Tesla so that the greedy gas guzzler corps can suck oil dry first.

  13. True but what if I want to drive to Florida on my honey moon from Tennessee? Or from the west coast and back? I can take 6 mins and fill up my tank for another 400miles. I don’t want to wait an hour or more every rest stop.

  14. Here’s how electric cars will be more popular than gas cars-
    1. Cost less than a gas car. Corolla starts at 17K, Nissan Leaf stays at 36K
    2. Recharging stations exactly like a gas pump. Same speed and efficiency and located all over the US.
    3. Same range as gas cars

  15. Electromagnetic and magnetic field in electric cars may cause tiredness, headaches, infertility, erection problems and cancer.

  16. I hate Electric cars, my fav cars, 2010 RX8 and 2014 TA Viper will be forgotten, im afraid of the future, it doesnt even bother me that much that there Electric, the self driving is what scares me, really, #StopSelfDriving #MakeCarsBetterAgain

  17. What about hydrogen cars it’s easier to make and batteries are made of a material that is limited example lithium.

  18. (english isn’t my first language) just asking for answers, do you think a hydrogen electric hybrid would be a good idea.

    at home you charge your car with your solar panels and the electicity that is not needed runs a machine that makes hydrogen gas.

    i don’t think that we enough of the current materials used to make the batteries for electric cars.

    and if we go all electric we need to have more efficient, light weight batteries to be able to drive as far as cars with internal combustion engines.

  19. electric cars arn't carbon neutral. Waste of toxic components in the battery (same as for solar) but hey we ship it to bangladesh so the problem is't ours enymore. Btw if they close all gas stations then the government has to raise the price of electricity so they get enough taxes.

  20. I mean it's just not going to be completely. Look at all the iconic cars form over the years. There are ALWAYS going to be people out there keeping them running.

  21. This is wonderful for cities, where most cars are, however electric cars will not completely replace combustion fuel powered cars anytime soon. Gasoline cant replace diesel. My job is to do maintenance work on the diesel generators that power telephone towers when the main power goes out. These towers are in the middle of nowhere so access is done by L200, Navara and Hilux (diesel powered vehicles)

  22. Electric cars are the future? Yes, a far future! Today they are impractical, they require a huge improvement in electric distribution infrastructure and a lot of nuclear power plants, for Germany +20%, for Italy +50%, EU in general +30%. Paris to Venice in 9hrs with my old diesel car (including refueling and rest stops), 27hrs with a Tesla (two recharges required).

  23. so many things i dislike about this video aside from it being sponsored but also not incorrect in some departments

  24. Yes, the future. When there is an outlet near every parking spot (or everyone owns a garage, heh) and new battery tech rolls out (so you can recharge fast during longer trips).
    They do contribute to climate change. Not 100% of electricity is renewable/ nuclear.
    Computer on wheels. Not necessarily a good thing.
    "shared" yea… no thanks.
    Cheaper to run- yes, but also more expensive upfront. Depending how much you drive it might not be worth it. Also if everyone uses EV's electricity price will go up.

  25. Yes your 90% right but what i heard is that the production of these battereies Fakes more co2 than driving like 8~ years with gas
    Please prove me wrong🙃

  26. I hate engine noise – I like to open my windows, put on some good music through my bang and olufsen system and enjoy the ride.

  27. How someone from “west world” has no clue. At current state of developement (mainly lithium using batteries) and current state of most of the world its absolute stupidity. Get out of shell. Where will you get all lithium (and other precious metals) from? What will become of used batteries – even cellphone batteries are problem? What of distances in most of the world? What of electricity production?
    Benefits are obvious, but not at current level of technology and development, so unless pressured by faith and politics its no good. I suggest you get your head out of ass and get to know world beyond Australia (USA, Germany – fill your choice) and beyond regular tourism.

  28. I'm really in favor of electric cars, but the bmw i3 isn't a good one. It's been out for years without any significant improvements, the chassis is made of carbon fiber which is a serious contributor to cost and in Europe where i live it's kind of the face of electric cars which doesn't help their adoption since it is so much more expensive (and ugly tbh) than many of its competitors…

  29. Love your work, will continue watching, you're fantastic.

    Just promise me you'll contact me before talking about cars again.

  30. Electric cars are like normal cars: an innefficient and polluting way to move around. Normally 1 person for a 1.5 tons vehicle.

    Your next video should be: why car should be banned from cities! Go ride a bike!

    Kind regards.

  31. There's another angle that needs to be addressed and that's what cars mean to us. Aside from your house, it's probably the next most expensive thing and often says things about you in the choices you made buying it. It has brought freedom of movement and expression to almost everyone and changing any of that is going to fraught with problems. If you doubt that, just look at how many enthusiast cars there are, then how many ordinary cars have been modified, even just a bit. Each of them occupies a part of their owners heart or pride.
    Cars are part of the fabric of society and changes must come from a cultural shift as much as a financial or technical one. A wildly superior electric car isn't assured market success for technical excellence alone and making conventional cars seem, or even become more expensive will just make a lot of people angry. If electric cars are to be the future (and personally I hope they are), then they must become cool to general society. Will anyone build Electric muscle cars?…

  32. Ehh….I think most viewers are already aware of the benefits of electric cars. But this video seemed a bit too optimistic, almost like an ad (not saying it was an ad). It's best to have a discussion that talks equally about the drawbacks as well as the benefits.

  33. Cheaper production means lower wages and more children involved. If you don't have any solar panels, every km produces around 80 Grams of CO2 (typical electricity mix for Germany). A 15 year old Audi A2 Diesel does less.

  34. What a first-world-centric point of view. It’s like the other 70% of humans don’t need transport. We don’t have the infrastructure for this.

  35. "Sponsored by BMW" says it all, unfortunately. I was hoping for your own unbiased opinion, but this just seems like an ad. Sorry, missed the mark for me.

  36. Making the car, and making the batteries produce CO2. Plus don’t forget that the repair costs for a battery sale are extremely high, so high in fact that if it happens to you you should better buy a new car then repair it

  37. The very first video of Veritasium I disliked 🙁

    Please more objectivity like we are used to from your videos. In this particular video I can't stop feeling like watching a BMW commercial.

  38. It’s easy to make something look good if you intentionally leave out significant downfalls.
    Such as there’s not enough lithium on earth to replace every fossil fuel powered car.

    Electricity cannot be stored for long periods of time.

    Lithium ion batteries, while they have high energy density when compared to other batteries like Nickel-Cadmium, have nowhere near the energy density of coal, petrol, or diesel.

    Electric cars are a neat party trick, but they are not the future.

  39. The future of cars is electric, autonomous and shared?? Well 2 out of 3 aint bad i guess…
    People i know like to own their cars.
    People i know do not like other people driving their cars
    Even if cars become mostly autonomous i would bet my life that the owner of the car sits in the "drivers" seat, or in front of the control panel, whatever the case may become.
    I cant believe that a future, where the car is not a status symbol for many or a right of passage for 16-18 year olds is coming any time soon sharing cars will no doubt become more common, especially in bigger, high density populated cities but i cant see it becoming the norm for a long time

  40. Catchy title, should have been something we said ever since putting humans on the moon, or even the 1973 oil embargo.

    As a EV enthusiast I can say BMW EV's asthetically & mechanically suck intentionally aside from being impractical; just think BMW i8 with child safety seat in back; their tech is top notch, except some of the idrive stuff; Euro automakers similar to VW, supressing technology, with a bunch of illusionary concept car marketing similar to auto conventions; BMW has had EVs before, but now woke up to realize, pumping oil out of the earth is bleeping stupid, like we haven't learned from oil spills, wars, & environmental problems, cancer epidemic.

    So the way I see it is BMW must be out of "ultimate driving" marketing machine fuel. So im thinking, if I recieved a "free trip" & I was not compensated for that time, I would question other you tube channels especially the Tech & Auto channels. The kids enjoy your channel, & love EV's but when they saw it was BMW, maybe it was me but they didnt want to watch it, because they said they saw it on another channel.

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