Autonomous vehicles and shared mobility are invoked in our contemporary discourse as an inevitable fate. There is an unsettling undercurrent rippling around a not altogether desirable future for the automobile as we know it. I am not anti-progress, anti-technology, or otherwise prone to romanticizing yesteryear. I welcome the convenience and safety of new technologies and look forward to the day I can work during my freeway commute. However, the pleasure and freedom I occasionally indulge — “shifting and drifting” in the words of Canadian rock band Rush — appears increasingly at risk.
How many years are left before we’re no longer able to sit at the left front corner of our cars, row through the gears, and take ourselves on whatever path of discovery we please.
How many self-driven years remain?
One of the main criticisms of Generation Why is the lack of hard data to support this column’s ongoing thesis: that the lack of interest in car ownership among millenials is related to economics, rather than any sort of anti-car/pro-environment/pro-urban ideological shift among young people. Now, a key study from Deloitte confirms our initial hunch: young people want cars, but cannot afford them, and the notion of a car-free future, with walking, cycling and transit replacing the automobile (whether privately owned or shared via a service like Zipcar) is an unrealistic fantasy that somehow continues to have currency.
The car industry has high hopes for the young. Automakers have invested and are investing billions into hybrid and electric vehicle, so far with lackluster success. In the U.S., the take rate of hybrid cars is actually coming down from a 2.78 percent peaklet in 2009. The 0.14 percent market share of EVs is too small to move the plotter’s needle. To recoup the investment, new tech vehicles have to be sold in more meaningful numbers. It is the generation Y that is supposed to set the needle in motion. A study of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu promises that Generation Y will make a humongous difference.
Generation Y could be the “generation that leads us away from traditional gasoline-powered vehicles,” Craig Giffi, who is in charge of Deloitte’s annual survey of Gen Y auto consumers, told the L.A. Times. The paper summarizes: (Read More…)
Since many of you old-timers see us young folks as self-absorbed brats, I decided I wouldn’t spam TTAC with my “angry young man” rants too often – but today is a special case, with the results of a Deloitte study on Gen Y being released. As you’d guess, they are about as accurate as Toyota’s notion that consumers aged 18-30 would want to buy boxy subcompacts that they can customize.