TROY, Mich.—No doubt about it, the cars we drive are changing.
As auto makers adapt to rapidly changing technology, they are reinventing the design of their vehicles and reimagining the passenger experience. These changes are driven by demand for autonomous, eco-friendly vehicles that can be used for ride sharing.
John McElroy, an auto industry expert and host of “Autoline Daily” and “Autoline This Week,” presented the keynote address at the Rubber in Automotive Conference in Troy June 13. His presentation examined some of the more notable trends within the industry and explored how auto makers are responding to the future of mobility.
One of the biggest keys, he said, is that passengers will demand more of their cars. McElroy said that most vehicles are driven an average of two or three hours daily. That will change quickly as passengers expect more miles from vehicles that are being shared regularly.
“As we see this change taking place where maybe people are no longer going to buy cars, but are going to buy their mobility, we are going to have to change how we design cars,” McElroy said.
In theory, a car could be used for 20 hours each day, he said, adding a significant amount of wear and tear to a vehicle that, as of today, is only engineered to be driven several hours daily.
“Today's cars are not designed for quick and easy replacement,” McElroy said.
To truly meet the demands of passengers and manufacture vehicles that last longer, auto makers must combine the best ideas from the industry's rich history with the smartest technology of today.
“I think there is an opportunity here to look back to the past and look at some of the traditional approaches to luxury and comfort and combine that with modern technology,” McElroy said.
McElroy was one of 14 speakers to give presentations during the first day of the two-day Rubber in Automotive event, organized by Rubber & Plastics News and Freudenberg-NOK. In its inaugural year, the conference welcomed 140 attendees and featured a program of more than 20 speakers, with keynote presentations scheduled for both June 13 and 14.