I hope I live long enough to see the enthusiasts of extremely fast cars shift their enthusiasm to our upcoming high-performance urban mobility systems.
Today there is so much buzz on how fast a car can accelerate. One can spend more than $3 million for a Bugatti Chiron that will go 0-60 mph in just 2.4 seconds. Far more affordable is the 707 horsepower Dodge Charger SRT, that will reach that speed in just 3.6 seconds. A Nissan GT-R will go 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds, and the 2020 Corvette will reach that speed in 2.9 seconds. Even electric cars are just as fast. The fastest Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan both reach 60 mph in under 3 seconds. Perhaps the stats on the new Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 are the most realistic though, as the company is now advertising the car will go 0-100-0 in just 10.6 seconds; meaning they know the car will have to stop as well, as many of the world’s freeways are pretty congested these days.
It’s not news than an increasing amount of urban travel is moving slower than ever, with increased traffic congestion. Los Angeles struggles to see traffic move much faster than a 35 mph average. I think of the automobile as a “leaf” on a “tree,” with the tree having a multitude of “leaves,” or vehicles, on it. While these modern high-performance cars, or “leaves,” are beautiful and offer stunning performance, the tree is pretty sick these days.
So, yes, I hope to one day hear two people comparing their regional mobility systems, with one person stating theirs is the fastest and the best. I should mention I expect the focus to be on the regional mobility system, not a city one, nor a national one, as the region is where most people live and are based each day.
Perhaps one resident lives in the Casadia megaregion, which covers an area that stretches from Portland Oregon to Vancouver Canada, has 10 million residents and a $600 billion yearly economy. They are proud of their system and see it better than perhaps the Great Lakes mobility system. (The Great Lakes megaregion is expected to have 65 million residents soon).
The Cascadia resident will be bragging how a trip from any neighborhood in Seattle to downtown Portland (175 miles away) can be accomplished in little over an hour, while it takes over 3 hours today by car. They will be proud of their system that utilizes very high-speed autonomous “transit” system, travelling in isolated corridors that allow for very high-speed travel, and that their system seamlessly connects to a hyper-speed service between the two large cities. They will also be proud of the little energy required per rider, and the low price of travel for users.
The Great Lakes resident will counter by stating the speed of their system has now over a 140 mph average door-to-door, when one travels more than 100 miles. They will state that a resident in Chicagoland can now reach just about any destination in the Detroit area in a little over 1 hour, a trip that may take 4 hours today when driving. They will mention how a number of key “Hyperloop” style tunnel systems are now online, and that advanced aerial mobility service are enabling more residents to reach more remote locations in the megaregion in very little time or cost. But this resident will also talk about the vast increase in bicycling and other active modes for local trips all across the megaregion, and how healthy the residents have become.
It would be great to see individuals proud of these massive upcoming private-public regional or megaregional mobility systems and impressed how their systems can move tens of millions of people (as well as goods) so fast, and with little or any impact on the environment.
The “leaves” may not be as exciting or exceptional in this future as our super cars of today, but the “tree” will be stunning, beautiful, and beyond amazing!
In-car video shows that the backup pilot of an Uber Technologies self-driving car was not watching the road just before the vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian last Sunday night.
Continental, an automotive supplier that has a deep engineering bench, is making a huge organizational change, one that Dr. Elmar Degenhart, chairman of the executive board, explains is necessary because, as he puts it, “The industry is changing at a high pace, so we have to change, too.”
Mazda, the Little Car Company That Can, has been working on a number of important fronts of late.