November 12, 2015
The Future Of Electric Cars
With nearly 25 electric and hybrid vehicles available for purchase and more promised over the next several years, the future we were all promised seems to have arrived. But what, exactly, can we expect from this ever-popular wave of electricity-gobbling cars and trucks? Will fossil-fuel-guzzling automobiles become, well, fossils?
Growing up, television shows such as The Jetsons and movies like Back to the Future Part II dazzled us with dreams of jetpacks, food dispensers that could create any type of food you wanted at the press of a button, and, of course, futuristic vehicles. While flying cars are not commercially viable at the moment, there is a new breed of future-tech vehicles that are either on the market or well on their way to it.
These new vehicles eschew traditional fuels and, instead, seek nourishment from other sources, such as electricity (and soon possibly hydrogen), promising a more environmentally friendly option than the cars of yesteryear. With more and more of these electric and hybrid vehicles on the street every day, you can only expect the trend of fossil-fuel-alternative transportation to increase and eventually become the new norm.
If you pull up to most Whole Foods grocery stores here in America, in fact, you will see something a little surprising: Perched in front of several parking spots, there is usually a place for you to plug in your hybrid or electric car to charge up while you are shopping for groceries. As the popularity of electric transport continues to rise, expect to see more and more of these charging stations spread out around the globe.
Even more astounding is the fact that some countries are already testing roadways that will charge your vehicle as you drive over them. The government of the United Kingdom began a new program recently to develop just such a highway, which would seek to use magnetic induction to achieve this feat, much in the same way that wireless phone chargers operate.
Of course, such a complicated road system will need a crew in place to help with maintenance, just like normal roads require, only a bit more complex. Aside from normal issues that current road maintenance workers face, such as wear and tear, painting, and pothole repairs, problems such as faulty underground charging cables and computerized monitoring systems will need to be addressed.
The manufacturers that will provide this roadway equipment will need their own set of facility management and maintenance tools as well. So, too, of course, will the new electric vehicle producers. As older generations of traditional car and truck manufacturers hop on the bandwagon, they will need new equipment and assembly practices, which means additional worker education and training to ensure that all employees understand the maintenance needs and requirements of these new types of vehicles and the equipment that helps build them.
Sitting behind the scenes to ensure that all of these new maintenance routines and assembly-line procedures are being properly performed and tracked will be a pivotal piece of software: the computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). This handy-dandy software will not only help facility managers in their role but also roadway maintenance supervisors, who need a way to track assets, issue work orders, and generate reports for department heads, just like the rest of us!
While we do not have flying cars yet, the future of transportation is definitely upon us. There will, of course, come a day when electric cars and hybrid vehicles are pushed aside for newer technology, but for the foreseeable future, the road ahead looks to be paved with sparkly blue electricity.