As the 2008 model year season approaches its end in the automotive world, we can look back and clearly see certain future trends emerging.
One of them can be considered the Holy Grail for car owners: getting 100 miles per gallon or even more.
Trends of Tomorrow
It seems pretty far-fetched, but industry insiders continue to talk and write about it.
While that certainly would be the most eye-catching development, several other trends emerged in 2007 and 2008 and continue to solidify.
Among the important trends are
- Continued talk of fully electric vehicles
- The continued improvement, availability and popularity of hybrids
- Resurfacing of diesels as a valid alternative to gas-powered vehicles
- Much greater inclusion of interior technology and entertainment
- An emphasis on more environmentally friendly vehicles
It remains to be seen, even through 2009, if any of these trends come to fruition as items to be expected in all new vehicles.
But certainly the past two years new car advancements have changed the way consumers think about vehicles they want to buy.
The Race to Good Gas Mileage
Already some hybrids are exceeding 50 miles per gallon, led by Honda and Hyundai models, and there appears to be a race to see who can achieve the best fuel economy in their vehicles.
Expect nothing to change for the foreseeable future unless gas prices drop dramatically.
Extreme Hybrid SUV
In spring 2008, AFS Trinity Power Corp. promoted its XH-150s, called the “Extreme Hybrid,” and in SUV format. The company says this vehicle will get more than 150 miles per gallon.
This particular hybrid leans more toward the use of electicity, instead of the typical hybrid used now which relies mostly on a gas powered engine.
The company hopes to license the technology to automakers, in the hopes of popularizing use of the XH drive train in SUVs, and eventually on other cars.
A Cleaner Diesel
If you can imagine a world with a 150-mpg automobile, can you also imagine the return of diesel cars?
A concept that faded in the 1970s for a variety of reasons, but namely due to emissions and odors.
New technology on the emissions front has automakers exploring how to return diesels to the market at a more affordable price.
Some say diesels can one day become what hybrids are today – that is, vehicles that get good gas mileage and grow in popularity each year.
Consumers Make Their Demands
Consumers have taken matters into their own hands, fuel economy-wise, and are tinkering with engines to get more bang for their buck, especially in the realm of electric cars.
There are reports about home-customized Priuses getting better than 100 mpg, using modified software and enhanced battery packs to keep cars running longer on electic power.
Some companies are even offering plug-in conversion kits for hybrids.
Still other advancements are being designed into car interiors for ease of use in modern times.
Car interior features that aren’t futuristic anymore
- Bluetooth capability
- Streaming media for television and movies
- Digital storage for computer downloads
- High-definition radio
Bigger in Front
Another trend surfacing in the market is a wider variety of front end selections on new cars.
The big front end was starting to look like a thing of the past, until it’s sudden revival in the ZR1 Corvette.
Take a look at the 2009 Ford F-150 or Dodge Ram, and notice the huge front grilles.
One would think automakers are harkening back to the glorious ’50s with the size and shape of some of these vehicles’ front ends.
With the rest of the world working overtime to scale down to smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles, it is odd to see the bigger American car trends of today.
Hinting at the days when gas-guzzlers were kings of the road just goes to show how unpredictable automotive trends can be.