Cities across Europe are pledging to become carbon neutral within the next twenty years and that will mean these new “smart cities” or “e-cities” will be very different from what we know today. We asked E.ON’s electric vehicle expert Andreas Pfeiffer to show us what our world will look like in the next twenty years.

What will I see in the city centre of the future?

Imagine a city with far less traffic, quiet streets because there’s no engine noise, no air pollution because there are no engines burning fuels, and lots of free parking spots right in front of your apartment. The majority of buildings around you will produce their own energy for their heating and cooling and to feed the electric vehicles around you. Getting around on multiple modes of transport will be widespread because smart apps will make it the most convenient way to get around. 

What’s are biggest innovations we’ll see?

Autonomous cars and the growing use of these cars via ride-sharing apps will mean cars become something you use not something you drive. They’ll be able to organize themselves much more efficiently on roads so traffic will flow more easily and there’ll be fewer accidents. The further rise of e-commerce will mean even more package deliveries but airbourne drones will take some of this traffic off the streets.

How will electric vehicles influence the shape of our cities in the future?

Electric vehicles (EVs) will reduce noise and lower emissions, but it’s through the combination of EVs, ridesharing and autonomous driving that we’ll see the biggest effects. The challenge will be to organise mass-market charging that will keep everybody’s costs low. To do this smarter connected grids will deliver intelligent charging cycles for company fleet of vehicles or for suburban districts where charging will take place at the right time in a way that works for everybody.

What would you say to anyone who has concerns about electric vehicles?

First, you have to test drive one – you will just love it. Second, the problems we perceive about electric cars today, like how far they can go and how often they need to charge, will evaporate in the next decade. We’ll be able to charge our cars in five minutes, eventually wirelessly, and battery technology will mean we can go even further. Lastly, full electric vehicles emit none of the CO2 that cars with conventional engines do and their batteries can be more than 90% recycled, so you’re making a smart choice for the planet and its future too. 

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