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  1. #1
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    Default The future of the Automobile...

    This is a pretty general question, but where do you see the automobile and the motor industry in general in 20 years time and how do you think cars have improved in the last 20 years...

    I personally consider the main advances made in the last 20 years to be engine efficiency, safety and NVH refinement whereas I don't think handling has truly progressed in the last 20 years and most improvements have come due to tyre developments.

    Where do you see major advances being made?

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    How long do you think IC powered cars will be around for?

    Where do you see styling trends going?
    Last edited by mistareno; 15th December 2005 at 10:15 PM.

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    1075.6 SamR's Avatar
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    Interesting question I agree that handling hasn't really progressed in the last 20 years considering there are so many poorly handling new cars out there. Most manufacturers seem to be relying on electronic safety nets
    I think that IC powered cars will be phased out within my lifetime. Although BMW have been developing an IC engine that runs on Hydrogen... Apart from moving away from IC engines, I think safety will be improved even further for both passengers and pedestrians.
    I wonder what quiet hydrogen fuel cell cars will be like for pedestrian collisions. You won't hear them coming
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    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    With china now requiring massive amounts of natural resources ie: oil & fuel it'll come to the crunch quite soon... The answer Who knows, maybe the fuel companies will start making some of the gadgets/patents/ideas they have purchased over the decades they lessen our reliance on fossil fuels.

    20years ??? We'll probably be driving tiny cars that get 80mpg and complaining about fuel costs at that sort of economy.

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    Safety is one of those aspects of car design that seemsto have robbed Peter to pay..ummm..Peter.

    To make the car safer requires more weight for reinforcements and more solid structure, yet this extra weight also means that whatever it does hit, is going to be hit with more force potentially injuring the occupants of the other car...

    It also means that the brakes have to be larger to pull up the extra weight which means they have to be bigger which leads to even more weight...

    The extra weight also kills economy and handling...

    Safety has alot to answer for in the direction of car design...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron
    With china now requiring massive amounts of natural resources ie: oil & fuel it'll come to the crunch quite soon...
    How quickly do you think China's auto industry will develop?

    Will they be on equal footing with the rest of the world in 20 years?

    Where do you see the Australian Industry in 20 years time?

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    Icon7 Electric magnetic or hybrid fuel cell.

    I'll take a stab and say that electric/magnetic propulsion and hybrid fuel cells with be the go and 2 plus two construction of hydrominium castings with glass ceramic components and minimum of frictional material, components, or lubrication.

    Hybrid fuel cells may be even small minature reactors and the vehicle may be designed to run on an air cushion or magnetic cushion - design flair will be complimentary to the propulsion and purpose of the vehicle - may even be an air ion propulsion system like a ram or simple pulse jet principle.

    Then there may be the froggy forum toad pond hot air propulsion balloon powered by human byproducts, marketed as a Complete Rapid Accelaration Polarisation Process or C.R.A.P.P. for short. my

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    Fellow Frogger! mmm...CORNERS's Avatar
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    Having just come back from 2 weeks in China I can say for certain that the way they burn fossil fuels, we'll be out before 20 years. Man, it crazy over there, and the way they drive, well, I think pedestrian safety should be paramount, at least in China's local market.

    I love thinking about cars of the future, but I can never decide what I think is going to happen. I'm guessing that more and more composite and plastic materials will be used in the body and structure. Pigment impregnated body panels, snap together components. Designed to last 5 years.

    Design of cars will just follow the same cycle it always does. Futuristic, organic shapes, then back to sharp clean styles then probably retro cool. As much as whacky designs look cool on concept cars peoples tastes are generally conservative, so I dont think 20 years will change much. A car will still look like a car.

    Unfortunately, It seems like the car is becoming less an mode of transport, and more a fasion statement, which means true driving machines will be few and far between. Effiecient, always reliable, nice looking, but inevitably dull.

    Either that, or there will be a brief golden time of super hi-po hydrogen IC cars capable of cruising at 400kph+ with 2 kids and a mountain bike in the hatch, focussed sound systems, Inertial damping systems(who wants to feel g-forces..ugh) and all the while limited to 35kph just to please some safety comittee.

    or what about a car with headlights that follow the front wheels..........

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    GPS tracking, pay per km driven in town and automatic speed fines and demerit points .. cars more then 5YO must be scrapped or subject to road tax 10x more .. gee sounds like parts of S'Pore already (all in the name of safety of course ).

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    I see a need to return to simplicity to regain lightness with strength, coupled with efficient engines (while still in the era of internal combustion) to best conserve fuels. What we need is the simplicity of yore but made using computer aided design. Although it might not happen, I can't see how we can continue to make cars heavier and heavier, negating the advances in engine efficiency, while acknowledging that we are at peak oil, or close to it.

    It'll take the EU to influence the other markets.

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    hmmmm....


    Development and testing is much more efficient and "idea-logical" turnover is much quicker from concept to production....Only a decade earlier a concept was often considered to be up to I d say 3/4/5 generations ahead...ie about 5 years per model range.....Therefore I can not forcast a huge, both conceptual and infractructural based, change.....All I see happening is a more direct and focused
    shift in direction....Ie Strong focus on engine efficiency and therefore environmentally sound solutions....

    I hope to see a shift towards a lighter motorcar that will undoubtly be able to "talk" to other cars in emergencies (ie accident evasion).....I think there is a strong argument that a well handling car can not be underestimated in terms of safety....

    I d like to see a greater seperation between a lux and budget cars....ie...why in the hell does an astra or a pulsar need to pretend its a rolls royce.... there should be a greater choice of "simple" cars (yes with manually operated windows)...a "peasant" option if you will....
    Re; pedestrian safety......well I must admit I dont see any sense in this (yeahh I ve seen the streets of europe)...but such a design restriction makes no sense
    while affecting common passanger vehicles....what about bikes, buses, trains, trucks etc etc

    I do see "vehicle free" zones being a good thing....just imagine Melb CBD being car free...just trams and horse carriages and bikes.... be nice me thinks...

    As for improvemnet....well some have gone a long way....others hmmm..
    Fact is, a steel door is still a pressed piece of metal and the only thing thats changed is the goodies attached.....Miniturasation has helped, so there is a lot more computer power.....yes they have rain sensing wipers and yes the screen will reflect the UV....but its still the same screen as on many others.....
    There are the air bags but they were a natural progresion from the original steel dash boards with polished wallnut designed to puncture your lungs ...

    Take the vb as an example.....it took "them" almost ten years to PEAK...it was the same car for a long time.....in many ways the vn was a major step back...so was the vt....there is 20 years just in these three... Whats changed?
    Comfort level and perception.....but that comfort level was still not on par with the worlds best.........

    Next 20 years....it ll be CATCH UP throughout various parts of the planet....
    High end japanese and german segments will do the experimenting with the latest and greatest....and we will follow a few years later..........
    Anybody remeber how long AU had to wait for some movie premieres only a decade ago.....Globalism in this sense does create a quickening, the results of which we may or may not be impressed..........

    Our preffered destiny, style and supposed culture will become much more irrelavant............





    dino

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    It is interesting that nobody has mentioned the new generation diesels that are powering just about everything in Europe these days.
    With luck these new diesels will become the motor of choice in China, as it seems somewhat inevitable that it is going to have a massive increase in the number of cars over the next few years. The production of diesel must consume less energy and can be made from lower grade starting material.
    In Australia, the problem is the stranglehold that the oil companies have over the government. They are all operating refineries literally screaming out to be updated, yet can still argue that they need more time to lower the suphur levels. if they put back some of the $$ that they have taken over the years we could all be running around in diesels.
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    20 years, who knows, but I think in the next 10 years we will definitely see

    1. the further consolidation of the car industry. Company as weak as Mitsubishi, will collapse and be history, fiat, Saab will become a brand name just like Mini...
    Some might fancy driving a Sony-Subaru branded car.

    2. Half of us will be driving a Hyundai because they will owns BMW. Their cars handles well, doesnt breakdown, value for money (Jap box reliability/ technology + euro styling)

    3. The economic bubble will have burst by early 2010 in China, so rich people will still be rich & drive mercs and the poor will still be on bikes, so dont worry about running out of fuel...Not when its 6.59/L

    4. Singapore government will ban the driving of cars if they run on petrol

    5. composite/ plastic will be in and metal will be out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by XTC
    cars more then 5YO must be scrapped or subject to road tax 10x more .. gee sounds like parts of S'Pore already (all in the name of safety of course ).
    At yet they have Diesel Nissan Cedrics as taxis without even the slighest hint of irony.

    The future of the car is interesting? Hate to be pessimistic, but I think it unlikely. Like so many other areas, marketing and profitability requirements will be the main infulences on development. Naming is the first most obvious concession - cheaper to use the same name and ad campaign for all countries speaking the same language.

    Modern manufacturing makes it cost attractive to make larger sub-assembiles that are not designed to be maintainable. I think more will be made this way, as the cost to manufacture is disportionate in the 'fiddly bits'. Already some Korean cars have alternators in a welded plastic housing without removable fasteners, thus not economically repairable. As LEDs get cheaper it will become practical to make an indicator cluster as a complete sealed assembly. Pricing and availability of replacement parts may well become the de facto tax on older models.

    Internal combustion will hang around while its cheaper and easier to manufacture! Availability of oil seems to play less of a part; last time there was a problem with that, the problem was 'solved' by 'finding' more oil! Ditto for materials used (we've gone backwards there - how much of a BX was plastic) but that will change when carbon fibre gets cheaper than steel...

    Driving dynamics will suffer up against image and safety. The number of cylinders has already given way to the number of airbags. Driving is becoming less considered as an 'enjoyable' activity - increases in traffic congestion and thickwad road users (especially pedestrians - Harold Scooby should consider the consequences of his actions) will ensure this anyhow, 'safety' cameras only seal our fate.

    Doesn't mean I like it all, though it is a worrying trend...

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    As a person in their 50's, I have seen improvements in manufacture of cars, their safety in collisions, their economy & power output. This has come about by more complex engine technology, use of plastics & other weight reduction strategies, and the use of safety devices such as ABS & air bags. Overall these are positives, though for the enthusiast, cars today are less possible to have their maintenance done by the owner, and are very expensive to repair, due to the exorbitant prices for plastic body panels.
    Another big change in modern cars is the vast improvement in noise, vibration & harshness, compared to vehicles of the 60's & 70's.
    I thinkfor the future, sadly, cars in Australia will become an increasingly disposable, consumer item, with the introduction of ever cheaper new cars from Asia that are designed to have a serviceable life of around 5 years max. The value of used cars older than this will fall away to zero, and, despite the make, they will disappear from our roads. Supposedly this will mean that poorer people will be driving cars a few years old which have the latest safety devices whch I guess is a plus.
    I think that over the next 15 years cars produced worldwide will achieve near zero emissions of greenhouse gases and closer to 100% of their component parts will be totally recyclable. IC engines will continue for a while, but I am doubtful as to whether hydrogen power is the answer that some manufacturers are predicting. Fuels must become less mineral oil based in a world with rapidly diminishing supplies, & I think the development of renweable fuels will shift internationally into top gear. Biodiesel probably will have a big interim part to play over the next 15-20 years, but beyond that other propulsion systems are likely.
    For what it is worth there are my thoughts.
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    I hope we (globally) come up for genuine use & need for used tyres, (unless some one can point out otherwise). Can't we turn em into something??

    Also i think designs will start heading this way http://www.naulapaa.com/degree04.html
    apart from that, we can only guess.
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    The weird thing about all this is the increasing of inbuilt obsolescence in the face of improving reliability, efficiency and build quality. Cars are no more expensive than 10 years ago and yet are better equipped, so second hand values drop, parts and service are more expensive relative to the cost of new car ownership, so cars are better but yet more throwaway - in a way. I'm not sure how long such improvements and quality can be maintained in the face of stable pricing.

    So I wonder if we will soon begin to see prices going up, and sales numbers going down. Things like Merc A class and 1 series BMW may point to this trend but on the other hand Holden is swapping Opel for Korean automarginobiles in a desparate attempt to make a little bit of profit.

    Power sources in future decades? Nothing really stands out aside from electrically powered vehicles or hydrogen/hybrids. But then we have a long way to go to get sufficient clean electricity via a combination of nuclear and solar sources.
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    Default Safety and localised Design

    The future of the car in terms of powerplants seems pretty clear. There will be a push from petrol to hybrids and then to pure electric (fuel cell) cars. High efficiency diesel will also play a big part, but perhaps not so much in Australia or at least not as quickly.

    Globalisation of car platforms will become more prevalent (this is already happening) with local design houses putting the clothes on the mannequin so to speak. Some of the big players are in real trouble now, GM in particular, so expect to see companies like Toyota take up much of their market share.

    Passive Safety like ABS and Airbags will be supplemented by new active safety systems as we now see with ESP and Anticollision radar. DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communication) between cars and the idea of all vehicles being part of a mesh network to relay real time traffic data car to car may be just around the corner.

    Infotainment is growing exponentially at the moment with the reduction in cost of colour displays and associated technologies, so expect to see more of this stuff fitted by OEM's. The car as your own personal entertainment center will continue to be the trend, but what about the WiFi equipped car that is an extension of your home Network? What do you want to listen to tomorrow on the way to work, just drag and drop to the car icon. Alternatively, you may choose to download some music or a movie or news release at the local servo as you fill up. Over the air upgrades, so the car can let the dealer know if it is having a problem, and since more than 73% of all car faults are software related (and 96% of all statistics are made up) they dealer will be able to patch your car "on the fly"...

    In short, in 20 years it will still look like your car, but it will be loaded with more computing power than your average space shuttle, be safer to drive, more economical, cheaper to produce and easier to recycle at the end of its four to six year lifespan. Composites will be more prevalent when the cost is justified or the cost differential swings the other way.

    Hoges

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    I also think eletric vehicles will be the future.

    We have the technology available now to make reasonably 'normal' eletric vehicles with a reasonable range. The problem is, and always has been, down time between charges...

    One way to solve the charge issue would be for the vehicle manufacturers to decide now on a battery unit with a set dimension and power output.

    This could then be incorporated into a removable cell that is changed at 'service stations'

    The procedure would be much the same as it is now.

    Drive into the service station with a low battery - 'dock' the car and the battery is then automatically removed (from under the car perhaps) and replaced with a fresh one.

    The battery that came out of your car is then put on charge at the station and sold to someone else when charged.

    Basically life would go on as it does at petrol stations, except the commodity would be battery charge instead of petrol.

    The cost of the charge would have to reflect the cost of battery maintenance and replacement, and there are certainly alot of issues, but it's the only practical way I can see pure electric cars becoming common place in our lifetime...

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    Not really related, but I just realise that Toyota have purchased GM's shares in Subaru, and as a result the development of the Saab 9-6X has been cancelled. So with no more saabaru, where is SAAB heading? Where is the money going be coming from as a company that sells less car then Holden. (they haven't made a profit in all 15 years GM have owned them)
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    Just saw a display of alternative power that's not about to make a comeback - steam. There's everyone ready for the Christmas parade, but the traction engine carrying Santa is cold and has to get up a head of steam. There's no way to hurry a steam engine, just stoke the fire and wait. On the other hand the fuel is growing by the roadside.

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    Default A world without oil, or limited supply

    Transport for personal use may be the least of our problems, our ABC explains;
    http://abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s1515141.htm

    Food security, manufacturing, even housing are likely to be impacted adversly should the premise of the Catalyst story come to pass.

    As for composite materials to reduce mass and improve fuel efficiency, ok but for the volumes required (http://www.azom.com/details.asp?ArticleID=1662), the idea of having a vehicle that has a basic core that remains for a decade or two with replaceable panels to keep the followers of fashion happy may be in our future. When carbon fibre was first produced in the late sixties the price for the basic high strength grade was about 200/kg. By 1996 the annual worldwide capacity had increased to about 7,000 tonnes and the price for the equivalent (high strength) grade was 15-40/kg. Fibre is good for you as for aussie mineral exports . Noticed that driving a 20yo vehicle is not a problem for those on this thread.
    With limited fuel supplies a complete new set of priorities will be set, time to get that bike out of the shed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GavinS
    time to get that bike out of the shed.
    As long as that bike has a 500cc V Twin in the frame - no worries

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    Quote Originally Posted by mistareno
    As long as that bike has a 500cc V Twin in the frame - no worries
    I had a 500 twin in the past, fun for sure all the costs for tyres and chains ( my riding style? maybe ) where not cheap. Modern liquid cooled 500s almost have the same power as a fuego . Now have a moped has 30cc single 2 stroke and a tiny 200w yet gets me around just fine for my local and to the city trips. No rego or special licience required, can use road or bike paths and either motor- motor and pedal or just pedal. All that power uses 40- 60km per litre , the tank even has a reserve fuel section to get me to the bowser if I forget to fill. My door to door trips to the city are faster than the train and I live near a station, no parking charges Of course a car is still an essential item for me as a time saver and fun while the fuel lasts at an afforable price. Interesting power developments happening with compressed air, just need electric compressors/ pumping stations at regular intervals, regenerative braking to conserve energy and eco friendly. Do it now .
    Cheers- GavinS 25 GTX 1987 build 2165cc auto - TBR. Renault is properly pronounced "Rhen-oh."
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    The way the arabs are behaving these days I think we're out of the car as we know it withing a few years.
    No oil, no propulsion of the cars we drive today.

    I hope I'm wrong though, but I see dark clouds hanging over the car...

    Van
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  25. #25
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    Default hydraulic hybrids an options

    Noticed this link as a coincidence after my earlier reference to hydraulic power.
    http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll...48/1148/AUTO01
    noticed an aussie inventor had applied a system to a prime mover for the greatest benefits of overall fuel saved.
    Cheers- GavinS 25 GTX 1987 build 2165cc auto - TBR. Renault is properly pronounced "Rhen-oh."
    .......................................Nissan Skyline (daily driver)
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