Like most everyone else, I am convinced that someday we will see electric vehicles as well as autonomous vehicles on streets around the world.
Unlike a lot of folks, I am also convinced that it will take many years — perhaps decades — before we see any of these vehicles in large numbers. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
I am hearing from volumes of people who are starting to realize that, despite the optimism about the potential of these technologies, implementation will not happen overnight.
Sure, interest is high. But the engineering and, most importantly, the capital needed are simply staggering. The resources that have been brought to these projects are nothing short of overwhelming. When you realize the pressure that the European Union, in particular, is having on these manufacturers, you start to understand how significant these types of vehicles are going to become.
But aside from Tesla, which is dominating electric-car sales with its Model 3, it is going to take time.
While automakers run with unbridled enthusiasm toward new and disruptive technologies, it has been interesting to see recent reports suggesting caution is in order.
AlixPartners, for example, last month warned that the industry is heading into a "profit desert" as automakers pour $225 billion into money-losing electrification programs over the next five years.
When you think about a global auto industry that produces almost 100 million vehicles a year — and the billion-plus autos already on the world's roads — it becomes apparent very quickly that it is going to take some time before EVs are truly commonplace.
The AlixPartners study suggests EVs won't be cost-competitive with gasoline-powered vehicles until the middle of the next decade at the earliest.
And while self-driving vehicles are finding some limited uses, many have reported widespread use will be decades away.
It is hard to muzzle the unbounded enthusiasm that proponents have for these newest technologies. But they all would be wise to temper their excitement for a bit of reality. Just remember how long it took for broad acceptance of innovations such as airbags.
We will see these technologies in cars sooner rather than later. But we would be kidding ourselves if we believed in universal adoption overnight.
The internal combustion engine, along with the thousands of gas stations that dot countrysides in the U.S. and around the world, will not disappear overnight.
It will be fascinating to watch the evolution over time.