Self-driving cars and electric vehicles may become popular in the future, but there is still a lot to be learned about both technologies — and much to be proven. The question in both cases is how the industry should go about proving that they are ready for prime time.
In the case of autonomous vehicles, it must be shown that they are something people want and are willing to pay for. And it must be proved that they are safe.
Indeed, it will take a lot of testing before they can be made available to the general public, and the industry should not allow that testing to take place on public streets.
It is ridiculous to allow an unproven technology that can kill and injure people on the same roads you and I drive on. Auto companies have established proving grounds to ensure that vehicles are safe when they are finally sold to the public.
For years, the standard in the industry has been that cars and trucks must accumulate hundreds of thousands of miles on these private test facilities. That standard must apply to autonomous vehicles.
Meanwhile, it is simply unknown whether there is a market for electric vehicles in any sort of quantity without government intervention. The true acceptance cannot be determined if governments mandate or subsidize EVs. The answer is simply to remove all government mandates and see how electric cars do.
Governments should not pick winners and losers. The marketplace is the place to find out just how EVs will fare without artificial stimulus. If the public accepts the challenges of long cycle times for re-charging and limited range, then these vehicles will be a success.
But the idea that some electric vehicles are getting anywhere from $7,500 to $15,000 in consumer incentives is ridiculous.
It has been exciting to watch automotive technology develop and evolve over the years. Some technologies have been immediately accepted, and others, such as the airbag, took decades to see adapted for automobiles.
We should not rush technology. In some cases, it is far too financially risky, and in other cases it is far too dangerous.