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We Need Your Questions on the Future of Mobility

We got an email from the clever folks who created the the BMW Documentaries series Wherever You Want to Go. They’ve asked MotoringFile and BimmerFile to submit questions for the experts featured in the film. The answers to some of these questions will be featured as part of an extension to the documentary. These experts include:

Graham Hill, from Treehugger
Robin Chase, from ZipCar
Way Cheng, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
George Whitesides, from Virgin Galactic

What they’re looking for are questions surrounding the issues brought up in the documentary so far. Mobility, sustainability, technology, etc. The comments will be open until Monday, April 11th. So if you’ve ever wanted to pick the brains of some rather clever transportation experts, now’s your chance. If you missed the excerpts, we’ve embedded them after the break. Have a look and give us your questions in the comments.

Wherever You Want To Go (Trailer)

The New City

The Future Just Isn’t What It Used To Be

In the Future, Will There Still Be Room On the Road For Muscle Cars?

How We’ll Learn To Stop Worrying and Love the Future

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Written By: Nathaniel Salzman

  • MINIBro

    While we all would like to do our part to be more environmentally friendly, do any of you fancy the idea of transportation that takes away the freedom of going in your own direction? The movie Minority Report came to mind when I watched and listened to the people interviewed for these films. It scares me to think that one day I will not really have the ability to just jump into my MINI or BMW and just drive towards the sunset.

  • Zach Kenitzer

    One of the biggest issues facing the future of transportation is the inter-connectivity and interrelation of existing and new infrastructure. While it is obvious that the networks are optimally cost efficient at a dense scale, how does the rapidly aging and declining infrastructure quality in the United States compete with cities that are newer and maintain their systems more effectively? What can we as Americans do to promote reinvestment into these vital systems and how quickly can a turn around occur?

  • Aurel

    I have a very broad question about general charging grids for electric cars. Especially in large urban areas like NYC which is a perfect place for an electric vehicle.

    • How and where will charging stations be implemented?
    • Given the long time it takes to charge a battery how can this grid be expanded an ever growing need?
    • How can these be secured from vandalism when thee station is untended or even when you charge your car and need to walk away.

    This overall big picture is not clear to me.

    Thank you!

  • GregW

    How far advance is the development of a battery that will operate a car longer and be smaller. Example an IBMAS400 versus a Laptop.

  • Rixter

    When I first started selling PCs a desktop was nearly $15K and a Civic was about $4K. Since then with parts standardization a PC is now $200 and a 2-door car $20K. Car manufacturers don’t want standardization and neither do consumers. People have a personal connection with their car that is completely irrational. I know I do with my MINI. If manufacturers could find a way of driving costs down through standardization and yet afford some measure of personalization, that to me would be a winning combination. Is anybody looking at that within a company and better still even across competitors?

  • Grant G

    IIn one of the clips someone says we become connected to transportation because it gives us something we’ve never had before, some ability to go farther or something to that effect. I think that the love of cars, and our car culture in southern california breaks down to two things, freedom, and a feeling, mini owners understand the feeling, hot-rodders do too. If the consideration is not tactile and neuron bending interaction with a machine, how will a human love it? this business of “a to b” transportation is hogwash if there is no love, the tech will die. I see very clearly since this is a BMW production there is care put into that aspect. they get it. by all means theyre the best at maintaining that aspect in a modern car ruled by legal and safety regs.

    my question would be, how can you make fun, clean, sustainable transportation as accessible as modern cheap cars (think kia and hyundai)?

    the mantra of “it needs to be a cultural change” is a fallacy, the real question is, “how can we make this new tech as addictive as driving is today?”

  • lavardera

    I think wrenching on your car and making engine modifications is great fun, but I also think more and more that it needs to be relegated to the “recreation” category, and not the “what I need to do to keep my transporation working” category. I’d really like to see the bulk of the mechanical maintenance regime simply go away. I still want my car to be fun to drive as my Mini is, but I don’t want to occupy mind space thinking about what my oil level is or when I have to visit a mechanic. In the same vein I think our cars are far too delicate. I live in a world with trees, and leaves, and sticks and squirrels – and crap falls on my car all the time. I’m a bit flumoxed that we can’t build a car in 2011 that can shrug off an acorn, let alone the abuse handed out in parking lots every day. Shiny is nice, durable is better. Waxing and polishing can join recreational mechanic work in my world. Give me a car that won’t look worse for ordinary wear and tear. Get rid of the freaking carpet – does anybody wear slippers in their car? Give me an interior I can wipe clean with a rag when feet inevitably drag mud into it. To me a luxury is a car that does not eat my time taking care of mundane issues. A luxury care is a car for people that pay others to take care of the mundane and get the mud out of your carpet. I’m not interested in a luxury car.

  • http://www.nathanielsalzman.com Nathaniel Salzman

    How do we balance good, sensible transportation visions with what the marketplace will actually buy? At what point does the good of the planet/economy/etc. end the automobile as we know it?

  • Aurel

    How can we educate the masses on how to charge an electric car when they can’t even charge their mobile phone?


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