Headed in the Right Direction?


A friend of mine that recently attended the NHRA Mopar Mile High Nationals sent me an interesting photo of a Hellcat that was sitting in the Mopar booth on the midway. But this wasn’t any Hellcat that I had seen before. This Hellcat was actually a Jeep Trailcat. Yeah, it’s exactly what it sounds like, a 707 HP Hellcat engine-powered Jeep. Apparently these models have extended wheelbases compared to previous Jeep models and a 6-speed manual transmission, making this is a true mountain climber that will likely spin the meatiest of Mickey Thompson off-road tires. I am not sure if this vehicle is actually going to be on the market, or if Chrysler developed it as an attention getting concept, but either way, I’d sure like to drive one.

Seeing this new vehicle got me thinking about the direction the automotive industry has been going, and the future of cars in general. I’ve mentioned before that when I was a child I thought that when I was 30 I would be able to buy a flying car. And though I’m not quite 30 yet, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect flying cars to be on the market in the next decade, and probably not in the next two decades. So what happened to this imagined trajectory? It’s doubtful that I’m the only one who had thought it would be awesome to fly to and from work in my own personal flying car. Granted, technology has progressed exponentially in the last 15 years. Take cell phones for example. I never had a cell phone until I was well into high school, and when I did, it was a far cry from a smart phone. Only 10 years later, kids in second and third grade are not only getting cell phones, but highly sophisticated smart phones. We went from having snail speed dial up AOL browsers on our home computers to access to lightning fast internet at our fingertips in a little over 10 years. So where is this technology progression when it comes to cars?

First off, I’d like to give credit to Mopar and Fiat for creating such an over the top vehicle, especially in an age where fuel economy and efficiency are becoming more and more of a priority. The technology that has evolved with cars has certainly astounded me as a consumer, but is it where I thought we would be in 2016? Not sure.

I recently stumbled across a TED talk about the future of cars. This video was filmed in 2005, and I thought it would be really interesting to see this person’s take on how automobiles might progress in the next 10 years. The speaker, then the VP of General Motors, Larry Burns, talks about the increasing technological development of hydrogen cars, biofuels, and regenerative braking. He discussed the downsides to a traditional internal combustion engine, and even went so far as to say they were striving towards “obsoleting the internal combustion engine” by 2010. Well, obviously that didn’t happen.

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