°>×Nothing but electrons×<°
I have to report this.
I was recently abducted by alien technology transport.
Don’t reach for the off-button! This is still me in my skull. However, everything I knew before my ride has undergone a green-shift.
It was night. The machine I had been invited into reversed quietly on a narrow rough track, but I felt no bumps. We were somewhere in rural Hampshire, where Crop Circles Hardly Happen, .
We engaged onto an English single track country lane. I noticed smooth power. And not a sound.
The Man said, “There is no engine. Under the bonnet is another boot storage space.”
I looked down for a gear shift, or up for an understated gear-paddle.
He said, “No engine. No need for gears.”
In the space left by no gearshift is a Useful Cup Holder and space for personal items.
Power from a bank of batteries in the floor of the vehicle is entirely controlled by computers operating in close harmony with state-of-the-art Global Positioning software. The computers receive firmware and software updates OTA – Over The Air.
A fourteen-by-eight inch central colour display and monitor is addressed by touch.
What are those two buttons on each side? I am bold to ask.
“This one is for the hazard lights. That one opens the glove box.”
I asked the one in the driver’s seat if this car is a hybrid, if it takes petrol, or oil.
“No engine; nothing goes in except electrons.”
It was night, and soon we entered the first motorway.
We were having a discussion about the balls and chains with which corporate petroleum interests still try to shackle advances in battery technology. That was when I noticed three things.
First, the driver-side display showing our car (head lights lit), between two continuous glowing blue lines. I could see radar images of the traffic ahead in our lane.
Second, up to this point on our journey, my driver man had not touched the steering wheel at all. He flicks the indicator and the car accelerates, the steering wheel moves, I watch on the radar display as we overtake a slow lorry, and the car returns to our lane to cruise in a posh but unfamiliar silence-bubble at maximum speed limit. Not a fraction over or under.
Third, not once in the 30 mile trip did the driver touch the brakes! In the rare and frankly unlikely event of a traffic emergency which the computer couldn’t compute, he could hit the brakes to take instant full manual control.
This autonomous vehicle and its batteries, a brainchild of the man with the science-fiction name of Elon Musk, not only attracts zero Road Tax, but under corporation tax rules, HMRC makes a net tax refund for the running of it! The car’s running costs are piffling insignificant compared to any hydrocarbon fuelled vehicle.
On cloud nine, I thanked my alien for the ride of my life, and I got out, still an Earthling, but a changed earthling.
All by itself, the chunky five figure price tag for this autonomous luxury earthship from the Far Future is ample justification for my buying the occasional Lottery ticket.