After more than a century, General Motors and Ford plan to end their relationship with gasoline and diesel.
Not 25 years from now.
Not 10 years from now.
We’re talking about it beginning within the next five years.
GM starts with two new, fully electric models next year — then at least 18 more by 2023. Ford’s plan is even more aggressive: 24 hybrids and 16 fully electric cars by 2022. With both companies, the new models will be a mix of battery electric cars and fuel cell-powered vehicles.
All of this may be hard to imagine, but 15 years ago, who would have thought we would have cell phones with the capabilities they now possess? At one point we were thrilled just to have our “portable phones” that allowed us the luxury of making and taking calls.
An even bigger change for the auto industry than electric cars are autonomous vehicles, otherwise known as “cars that drive themselves.” In many ways, the industry is already making that happen. We’ve seen many autonomous functions creep into our vehicles under the label of driver-assist features: things like lane keep assistance and adaptive cruise control. We also already have cars that can park, stop, steer, and accelerate independently.
Ten years ago, cars with built-in Bluetooth, navigation, and parking sensors were the domain of top luxury vehicles. Now even the most affordable vehicles have these things available as options.
The ramifications and possibilities from all these changes are immense, and starting Sunday, The Lima News will begin a seven-day series that takes a deeper dive into the changes consumers can expect.
We will explain what makes an autonomous car work. What happens when the gadgets quit working? How costly is it to fix? What does it do to insurance rates and the current gasoline tax that now funds road repair?
It promises to be some interesting reading.
ROSES AND THORNS: Clear out four spots in the rose garden fo some teen heroes.
Rose: To the four Elida teens who warned sheriff detectives of Tristan Ascura’s threat to shoot up Elida High School when classes resume in September.
Rose: People stood along the streets of Fort Jennings on Wednesday, hooting and hollering, as firetrucks escorted the state champion Envirothon team home. Teams were tested on their knowledge of forestry, wildlife, aquatics and soil.
Rose: To Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who brought several of his teammates to his hometown of Findlay, where they played in a benefit game to raise money for high school athletics, police and firefighters.
Rose: To Duane G. Boyd, 90, of Lima. The Korean War veteran enjoyed an Honor Flight to Washington.
Thorn: No, say it’s not so. A summer without Suter’s strawberries? First time in 40 years. Blame it on an insect called a thrip.
Thorn: To Timothy Logan, 59, of Harrod. He rolled his pickup on an I-75 entrance ramp while trying to elude the state patrol.
PARTING SHOT: With the rise of self-driving vehicles, it’s only a matter of time before we get a country song where a guy’s truck leaves him, too.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.