Why drive a car when you can tap out a ride on your smartphone and get picked up in minutes. Need to drive? Rent a car by the hour and then leave it on the street when you’re done with it.
But if you must own a car, one California automaker is betting it won’t use gasoline. The company’s sole mission is making the internal combustion engine go the way of the horse and buggy and is currently working on an affordable, battery-powered model that travels 245 miles on a single charge.
These innovative transportation models — being played out today in the California marketplace by new, successful companies — are part of what one UCLA urban transportation expert calls “a brave new world” that puts traditional transportation thinking on its ear.
“Technology is affecting transportation, and we need to be thinking about that. The change can be tectonic,” said Brian Taylor, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA, during a gathering of 400 city mayors, staffers and experts in Indian Wells on Thursday and Friday as part of the Southern California Association of Governments regional conference on mobility, technology and economic opportunity.