Do Americans just not want to drive cars any more? Recent studies suggest that the United States has passed its driving zenith, with the number of miles driven per person peaking in 2005. As of April 2013 the number of miles driven per person had dropped 9 percent below the peak, equivalent to measurements recorded in January 1995. Americans of all ages have cited various factors, from recession woes to environmental concerns, and car manufacturers are taking note, with big names such as Mercedes-Benz and Audi incorporating futuristic new ideas into their designs. Here, we present six cars for people who think they don’t want to drive any more.
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Problem: Rising gasoline prices have conspired with the recession to discourage many Americans from investing in a new car. Solution: The sleek, two-seater Volkswagen XL1 could help you save on all that gas money. Unveiled at the Geneva Auto Show in March, the diesel-electric hybrid is billed as the world’s most fuel-efficient production car, averaging the equivalent of 261 miles per gallon.
Problem: Cars are bad for the environment. Solution: Midier is a solar-powered concept car designed by Siyang Liu and inspired by Apple products. Natural sunlight fuels the car through a solar paneled roof, the interior acts as an entertainment center complete with a removable DJ center, touch pad controls and stylish seating. If the battery isn’t sufficient, you can also charge up from the grid for nighttime excursions.
Lit Motor C-1
Problem:More people are moving to dense urban areas–by 2030 almost 5 billion people will live in cities–where it’s often easier to get around on bikes and publication transportation. Solution: Lit Motor’s C-1 city car is a pint-sized, two-wheeled, fully enclosed electric vehicle that’s designed to be as compact as a motorcycle and as comfortable as a car (unless you’re really tall!).
Problem: Driving forces you to unplug (no texting behind the wheel!). Not terribly appealing for those who’ve grown up glued to a smartphone. Solution: Fun VII (Vehicle Interactive Internet) is nicknamed the “smartphone on wheels” because of its digital skin and interactive features. Customize the color and graphics of the LED-screen exterior instantly, send an email, chat with friends, check the weather and stay connected from the convenience of your car.
Problem: Cars aren’t designed for older drivers–and those are the folks who still buy cars. Solution: The Audi 2Lip is specifically designed to mitigate the challenges faced by an older demographic. Its unique architecture allows for front entry into the vehicle, overcoming possible mobility issues.
Problem: Stricter licensing regulations and other factors have led to a decrease in the number of young people obtaining their licenses. Solution: The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a developing series of autonomous vehicles that accelerates, changes lanes, parks and maintains a safe distance from other cars. With this car and other autonomous vehicles handling all the driving, perhaps the DMV would lighten up on strict, expensive license regulations and encourage more young people to get behind the wheel.