It dawned on me the other day, mid lesson. I was with a student who spurred some interest about the car beyond it’s operation. He was talking about his parents hybrid Camry, and a small moment of realization wandered past the back of my mind like passing a poster near a sidewalk. In my head I stopped to read it. Hybrids will be a short lived phenomenon! I don’t think in 10 years anyone will be wasting time on such complication and extravagance, instead a technological stepping stone on a transition with obvious momentum.
As a teaching point I’ll often talk to students about fuel efficient driving, how their actions with not only the gas pedal, but the brake and steering wheel impact their wallet; consumption of fuel. Smoothness in driving is key, slowing down early for red lights, making them green before completing a stop, and other simple adjustments can increase the money to spend on garbage apps for your phone. We often discuss the rate of salary increase, versus the increase of fuel cost over time. It’s normal for these balances to adjust, shifting costs, shift priorities. Liquid gasoline will soon become an item of Rockefeller-vintage luxury. Only the wealthy will justify it’s nostalgic usage, reserved for car collectors before the world gave up on liquid fuel. Soon, it will just not be logical to operate on this substance for a majority of the population, as the minority grows, at 51% it will be major, simple.
It was astounding to realize that the usefulness of a hybrid will quickly die, like a cordless ball mouse, this new wave of electric vehicles will push through the social sandbag wall and flood the market easily. These hybrids individually are obscure on their own. The haters are right, mechanically it’s a terrible idea, but for a stubborn population, almost a necessary evil; much like vapors, at least their not smoking cigarettes. Lesser evils can be a transition. For the future inhabitants of car culture, looking back on the hybrid will be like us now, peering back on other blind swings at the next new technological fad. The hybrid in histories eyes will be no more timeless than a pepper shaker with a built in flash light. Eventually the flying car will come back, the mystique and hype of such an idea is passed on through generations, but looking back at the crude 70’s uprising, today’s hybrid will appear the same.
Usefulness of this dual drivetrain vehicle isn’t entirely lost. I see accessing remote areas of the world(s) much more relaxed with the ability to operate on varying propulsion types. Sunlight is a great resource to harness for a low impact movement, with a liquid fuel as backup would be great for exploration, minus the mechanical complexity.
It was just so strange to come to this realization beside my student. I was excited and shared with him this magical moment, that the hybrid will be a museum piece of importance yet completely unrelatable by your gran kids.
On a side note: once this transition to completely electric vehicles is complete, the allure of a new technology offered by automobile manufacturers, will this affect our home design? I think it will, drastically. As an manufacturer squeezing the last drop of lemon from the internal combustion engine, other electronic devices such as blue tooth and on board computing devices have become a cheap distraction for consumers. With the switch to electric vehicles these controls and interactive amenities should only increase drivers connectivity to the new age electric vehicle. This connectivity will far surpass that of the home. The house lacking in allure, unsophisticated, dated. A vehicle which cocoons you in the app frenzy lifestyle of our small screen phones. Living inside this now small device, with the ability to transport us, not only in terms of video, photo, sound, and text mediums, but a new medium of actual location. The idea of a traditional house seems boring, and unnecessary. I guess it would be hard to deliver grand mothers post cards to your constantly moving new life. Oddly enough the idea if pushed further in this direction is self defeating. With the death of the traditional home, comes with the death of the destination. Why go to any buildings at all? I realize it’s not an all or nothing change. The past still affects the future and draw to traditional buildings will not be lost. However, it will be more of a novelty. Would this be the return of nature as the city decentralizes? An interesting destination would now be to naturally occurring phenomenon. Over growth welcomed, and celebrated. Perhaps this is too surreal.