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As it turns out, advances in internal combustion engine technology rendered electric vehicles (EVs) largely obsolete – until now.

Rapid progress in battery technology is now enabling carmakers to cost-effectively produce attractive, high-performance hybrid- and full-electric vehicles. Jaguar made headlines earlier this year when it released the I-PACE, its first all-electric car. Capable of going from zero to100 kilometres in just 4.8 seconds, and with a range of 470 kilometres, the I-PACE is a gamechanger, shifting public perception of electric vehicles.

No longer the quirky ugly duckling, drivers now want in on all things electric. For the first time ever, global plug-in vehicle sales exceeded one million units last year. In Norway, a third of new car sales were electric. Governments from France to India and China recently announced they will end or massively cut sales of internal combustion engine cars within the next decade or two. A long time in the making, mobility is now accelerating fast into the electric era.

At the heart of electrification is a global desire and need to make mobility more sustainable. Electric vehicles will help cut tailpipe emissions and reduce noise – making our streets healthier, quieter places for all. But the benefits of electric vehicles go beyond their positive impact on our environment. With fewer mechanical parts, EVs are easier for computers to control: queue autonomous driving. Already on the road in some parts of the United States, self-driving cars will gradually become the norm in other parts of the globe. Not only will they make driving safer, they will also free up valuable personal time; instead of keeping our eyes glued to the road, time behind the wheel can be spent more productively. This fits Jaguar’s vision of the future. Partnering with Waymo brings autonomous technology to the I-PACE, creating the world’s first premium self-driving electric taxi vehicle.

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Electrification is also transforming other forms of urban transportation. Sharing schemes for battery-powered scooters, mopeds and bicycles are popping up in cities around the world. Rented and paid for in seconds via an app, they are a fun, green way to zip around town.

Image right: eRoad
The success of electric mobility comes down to a well-developed charging infrastructure. In addition to home or street charging, EV owners will soon be able to quickly top up their batteries at the supermarket, office or gym. Just like with smartphones, wireless charging will become par for the course. No cables, just park over a charger on the ground – especially handy for autonomous vehicles. Eventually, EVs might be charged dynamically via electrified roads. It could even lead to new business models, with smart vehicles able to send surplus energy back to the grid. And electrification isn’t just changing transport at street level – it’s also taking to the sky. Urban air mobility wants to reduce congestion on the streets by creating flying electric passenger vehicles and parcel delivery drones. Sounds like science fiction? Not quite – successful tests have already been carried out.

For now, the electric revolution is taking place on the ground. But the changes we are witnessing could transform mobility forever.

Credits

Text: Geoff Poulton / Melisa Gray-Ward
Photography: Getty Images/Schenectady Museum Hall of Electrical History Foundation CORBIS, iStock/Chesky W, Joakim Kröger

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© JAGUAR LAND ROVER LIMITED 2019

28 Victoria Link, Route 21 Corporate Park, Nellmapius Drive,
Irene X30, Centurion, Tshwane, Gauteng,
South Africa


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