In The Future, Electric Cars Will Retire These 5 Auto Components

FEB 14 2019 BY MOTOR1 34

Mirrors, gearshift lever, pedals, steering wheel … there are parts of the car that will be replaced or eliminated with advances in electric drive and “by wire” driving

The advent of autonomous driving within a few decades really promises to clean up commands and tools, turning cars into self-propelled salons similar to miniature railway cars. Before then, however, it will be the electric breakthrough to slowly change our driver’s habits, giving us a different way of imparting commands to increasingly intelligent and assisted cars.

A process already underway since, on closer inspection, some of the elements in the list that follows have already started the procedures for retirement …

1 – The gear change lever

We are not referring to the actual transmission, which on pure electric and some hybrid like the Toyota Prius, in fact, does not exist anymore, replaced by single-speed gearboxes or continuous variation. To disappear the same command will soon be, already evolved from the mechanical levers to the impulse and then to buttons: soon also to move the vehicle “forward” or “back” just act on touch instruments or maybe directly give a voice order.

2 – The mirrors

Their function is irreplaceable but being able to eliminate them means gaining precious points in terms of aerodynamics and therefore of general efficiency. Well, this year the first models are on the market that after years of research have replaced them with cameras: we talk about Audi e-tron and Lexus ES that offer this novelty as an option (the second only in Japan) even if to be honest more than eliminating them all together they have thinned them. In any case, the road appears marked, as confirmed by the applications in other sectors including heavy vehicles where the new Mercedes Actros pioneers.

3 – The hood

Already today the mechanics of an electric machine is simpler and less cumbersome than that of a traditional model but in the future, the concept will be more and more extreme. Working on the miniaturization of components, materials, and suspensions, the engines could be really integrated into the wheels as often hypothesized, minimizing the need to access the substructures of the car and bringing constructive benefits: a body with fewer openings will require fewer reinforcements and can, therefore, combine strength and lightness.

4 – The pedals

The progressive replacement of the mechanical controls with the by-wire ones will allow one day to move the driver’s seat from one side of the car to the other, transforming the pedal board that we know into a totally electronic control like those of simulators or video games. But it will be only the first step. With the evolution of ‘ driving assistance, in fact, even the speed will be managed by radar and sensors that will accelerate and decelerate the car according to the limits and the state of traffic, relieving the driver from the need to intervene on accelerator and brake. In their place, emergency commands to be operated via buttons or joysticks.

5 – The steering wheel

It will be the last to disappear but he will disappear too, just a moment before the guide becomes 100% autonomous, completely canceling the need to drive. Gait and direction will eventually be enclosed in a simple joystick control, perhaps integrated into the seat or laptop. In short, the guide will become really similar to that of video games with which we have simulated it for so many years. After that, there will probably be only more left to experience the thrill of driving a car.

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34 Comments on "In The Future, Electric Cars Will Retire These 5 Auto Components"

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The steering wheel will not be replaced by a joy stick. There is a reason why gamers who are serious about racing games buy steering wheel controllers. Only helicopters are controlled with joysticks and flying a helicopter is extremely difficult.

Steering wheels may be replaced by autonomous driving, but that is not related to electrification.

didn’t a good few pilots say much the same thing when Airbus introduced the A320
I know that the engineering behind a control column is pretty complex when compared to a joystick.

Its ironic but the first cars had tillers which were just enlarged joy sticks. Fords first car had one and only did that change to a steering wheel when cars became heavier. This required gearing which then needed a wheel to turn many times for direction changes. With todays speed sensitive electric assisted and computer controlled steering systems the only thing missing is the joy stick.

Not sure about getting rid of the hood- why not allow for access to perfectly good storage area?

This list is very bad one IMHO. There are more important components that will no longer exist, but you have put something like steering wheel, mirrors and pedals. Also, what does hood means? You will still open the hood to pour windshield cleaner. Even when FSD becomes reality pretty much all passenger cars will still have steering wheel.

You also need a hood for front crash protection/crumple zone for pedestrians and passengers.

But it does not need to open.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

I prefer a lever for a shifter.
It has a sense of direction, which makes things easier when maneuvering.
Button for Park is OK since that’s a stop.

I used to think that way too but you get used to buttons really fast.

The rotating knob of the BMW i3 provides a sense of direction without being a lever. Rotate forward clockwise or backward anticlockwise for reverse by only moving ones hand within a inch of the steering wheel. Levers by their very nature are for leverage to move mechanical things something that is redundant with an electric switch.

“After that, there will probably be only more left to experience the thrill of driving a car.”

What on earth does this closing sentence even mean?

I think this article was auto generated by an ai. It would explain the nonsensical wording and bizarre list that has nothing to do with the title.

Wow, I didn’t even think of that. But reading it again, it absolutely reads like an AI-generated piece.

I made the assumption it was translated, and not proofread prior to publication on here.

Transmission tunnels are dead now.

I really hate when articles (deliberately?) conflate EVs with autonomous driving.

Hate it or not, Evs and autonomous driving go together. I love to drive. I love hang gliding and motorcycles. The thing is, roads shared by all is not a place to get your jollies. I hated the force use of seat belts too until I accepted that it was saving lives including my own. That is the thing about EVs and autonomous drive, they both are saving lives. Particulate matter inhaled by any creature with lungs enters the bloodstream and causes asthma and cancer or at least according to the pulmonologist and cardiologist. Even if the autonomous drive is proven the take as many lives as humans, which I don’t think will be the case, a life taken by a drunk driver is a wasted life. I life taken by technology to end the loss of life has a purpose. Think of it like all the soldiers who have given their lives for cheap oil. We had no problem accepting that. We just called it spreading democracy but call it what it is. When thinking of autonomous drive, think in terms of probability, not possibility. I know that is hard to do for many especially if you are a… Read more »

They go together in the sense that they are being developed broadly in parallel. Neither is required for one to succeed/progress.

True, it’s just new tech on newer tech. They just go together well.

EVs help AVs progress. EVs have a huge amount of electrical power available to run the brains of an AV. ICEVs simply don’t (without a huge alternator, which is not naturally part of the car).

I don’t see how AV’s are especially EV-centric since most AV’s are gasoline-powered. Also- most gasoline powered AV’s are quite particulate-free.

Robo taxis could be said to have an advantage over electric models since they can run 23 hours, 55 minutes a day. The missing 5 minutes is waiting for the attendant at the gasoline station to fill it up and then be ready for another 23 hours, 55 minutes.

Now, presumably this in the general case isn’t that much of an advantage since normally there will be some slack time when the ev can find an attendant based charging station and recharge there for an hour or so.

Forgot one. The driver! Hey is this about EVs or Autonomous driving? How about oil, gas, radiators, differentials, starters, alternators etc.

Heavy 12v lead-acid battery….

Teslas have radiators and 12v lead acid batteries, as do most other EVs. Differentials are still needed if one motor drives two or more wheels.

The starter motor has now been replaced by a similar (or more) motor that directly drives the wheels, rather than turning the engine.

They don’t need oil for the engines, or gas, but most still need coolants.

Transmissions may well make a comeback (the new Roadster may well have one?).

The things that are definitely different is the lack of engine, and potentially the driveshaft (that may also make a comeback if it’s seen as cheaper to do for AWD than two dedicated motors).

Every Tesla ever made has had a differential, or sometimes 2 of them.

Every EV ever made has had a dc/dc converter – something not necessary in an ICE vehicle as it is the replacement when you do not have an alternator

GM EV products need 3 coolant loops. That is one advantage ICE vehicles have over EV’s in that they have far fewer coolant loops – although the coolant lasts longer in 2 of the 3 loops that aren’t exposed to high-heat.

Some ev products have had variable ratio transmissions – mostly in GM and Toyota ev products.

Some Tesla products – to their advantage – do use different front and rear ratios between the front drive train and the rear drive train – thereby not needing a gear changing transmission – but then of course, there must be two completely separate drive trains for the 4wd.

So there is a bit of a parts reduction – and a properly designed EV can be at times less maintenance – but it is not clear cut as some people want to make it.

To be accurate the variable ratio transmissions you mention are needed because of the Ice additions and therefore are redundant in electric only drive trains. Regarding Diffs in electrics its possible to have two motors each dedicated to separate rear wheels with no diff something impossible with Ice cars. Split motors would provide limited slip and vectored cornering via electronics rather than energy wasting gearing.

It is possible to do anything but its not done here.

One statement you made is totally BONE-Headed..

“…To be accurate the variable ratio transmissions you mention are needed because of the Ice additions and therefore are redundant in electric only drive trains…”

You are obviously clueless as to how the VOLTEC stuff in GM products work. IN the GEN 1 vehicles which had only one planetary gearset, under EV-ONLY mode the large motor would work alone up until around 30 mph. Then for efficiency the second motor would spin up as the large motor would spin down, effectively moving the motors to a ‘higher gear’.

The Gen 1 GM products could have used a THIRD ratio to maximize efficiency at standstill, but you could get reasonable economy if you very slowly accelerated to 20 mph prior to ‘really stepping on it’.

All but the hood have little to do with electrification of the fleet. They’re all just technological advances that can be present on a car with any drivetrain.

There’s no reason you can’t have touchscreen controls for forward, reverse and “park” on most automatics now, as they are already “fly by wire” (hence the rotating toggle many now use).

The mirrors are completely unrelated, as is the steering, to the type of drivetrain.

Many pedals are also already fly by wire.

The article falls into the trap of assuming advancing technology and automation are exclusively EV. Neither are.

That said, in the future cars may well “retire” most of those features due to autonomy being driven by companies like Waymo and Tesla.

The day I need to yell at my car to change gears is the day I admit car design is dead. Tesla has it figured out with the small stick behind the wheel. Sports cars will always have pedals/steering wheels, but commuter cars likely will just be transportation pods rather than “cars”.

#2, the mirrors–not in the USA, until DOT/NHTSA goes through a rulemaking process and allows cameras in place of mirrors. Mirrors are required by FMVSS.

I have to try these camera mirrors. With optical mirrors you can move your head and change your view, not so with camera mirrors. Also, optical mirrors are as high resolution as your eye sight, I wonder what the resolutions in the camera mirrors will be like. Already I find the reversing camera to have poor quality on most cars, and that is a reasonably big screen right next to you. I think the concept I saw where the camera screens are right in the dash makes much more sense than the eTron where they sort of replicate the location of the optical mirrors. It’s new technology, do something logically better with it.
Anyone know how much range you get by removing the mirrors? Would it really be that much?

Required for now….that will change.

Maybe its time to rewrite the rules now we have the technology allowing a better system and by that I mean with cameras the off side from the driver will not require turning ones head 90 degrees from straight ahead in direction of travel. We already have surround systems on some cars for reversing and curb parking which is a godsend.
Large wide commercial trucks with these systems will benefit even more plus dispensing with their huge mirrors will aid aerodynamics and eliminate blind spots.

My cousin’s 1967 Plymouth had push button transmission.