What will motoring look like 70 years from now?

We recently celebrated our 70th birthday at JCT600. As part of our look back over the last 70 years, we created this quiz all about British motoring from 1946 to 2016.But enough about the past – we’ve always got one eye on the future, with exciting new developments happening in the automotive industry all the time. Right now, electric cars are growing in popularity, in-car infotainment tech is getting more and more impressive, and manufacturers are working with governments to make self-driving cars a reality.

Within the next decade, Britain’s roads could begin looking very different. But what about 70 years from now? In the year 2086, how might the motoring world have changed? We spoke to 5 travel and technology experts to get their predictions, so come with us on a journey into the future…

Scott Frank, Airbiquity

There will be some major changes over the next 70 years. Fully autonomous and connected vehicles will become the norm, as ‘smart cities’ become a reality. By then, the car will have transformed into essentially a moving room on wheels, allowing the user to experience and stay connected with everything they would at home, in their vehicle. This means the vehicle is fully connected to the user’s home and mobile ecosystems, allowing them to watch their favourite films and TV shows, check in on their heating and home security, or even just take a nap, all whilst travelling in their car.


Joseph Nagle, EverCharge

By 2086 electric vehicles will dominate the market and gas power will be banned. All cars will be able to communicate with each other; every car will know the status of all other vehicles in the immediate vicinity, with visibility of what they will do next. This will bring about a massive reduction in road accidents, as well as speeding up journey times.


Roads will need to be overhauled as self-driving electric cars will require better infrastructure. Roadway markings may send signals to vehicles about conditions, or upcoming hazards. Charging infrastructure will not be built into roadways due to high implementation costs; rather, many homes and parking areas will have charging stations built-in as range on EVs will grow well beyond the 300+ mile range we’re used to today.


Steven Hausman, Hausman Technology

In the year 2086, driving will have been transformed radically in many ways. Propulsion will be virtually all-electric as a result of several changes. Battery technology will have advanced to such a point that an indefinite number of charges will be the norm with no degradation of battery life. In addition, battery capacity will have increased to the point that the only limit on the length of your trip is how long you can stand being in a car. Trips of 1,000 miles will likely be possible without the need to recharge, but rapid charging stations will be ubiquitous nonetheless. Current recharging times at high-capacity public charging stations are 30 minutes. By 2086, charging will take no more time than it does to refuel a petrol vehicle now.

Tim Newhouse, PetrolPrices.com

When the UK population reaches 83,882,000 in 2061, total gridlock brings in bipartisan political support for car rationing. The gridlock is so bad that many lorries carrying fresh food cannot get to supermarkets before their food goes off.

Under the desperately needed policy, the Government doubles fuel tax, no more money is spent on roads, and the tax on new-car sales is tripled. The Government immediately uses the projected proceeds and savings to start a buyback-and-destroy vehicle scheme. Any household that accepts a buyback must remain car-free for at least 10 years or else pay the money back to the Government.

By 2086, with the UK population now at 92,856,000, the number of cars in the UK has thankfully fallen to the level of 2016 at 31.7 million vehicles.

With an extra 10 million households being built in the 70 years since 2016, there is far less space for roads and cars, but at least the total gridlock of 2061 has been replaced by a slow-moving procession of traffic in 2086.


Daniel Colaianni, VR Bound

The future of motoring will actually be even more different than you think. Yes, we
may well have autonomous cars and solar-powered roads, but virtual reality will also play a large and influential role in transportation.

With VR, you can travel halfway across the world in the blink of an eye, without even having to leave your living room. This will completely change the landscape when it comes to transport. What’s great about this is that in the near future this will be available to everyone, especially with more and more affordable headsets being released.

Nobody can say for sure what the future of motoring holds in store, but in many of our lifetimes, it’s likely that we’ll see self-driving cars become the norm, with electric power replacing fossil fuels completely, and a new generation of connected cities helping to make motoring safer and more seamless for all.

As for the government cracking down on car ownership in the second half of the century, it’s certainly an intriguing picture that Tim Newhouse paints, but there’s every chance that improvements in infrastructure will negate the need for any such draconian measures. Indeed, supermarkets as we know them may well no longer exist 70 years from now, in the era of autonomous vehicles and delivery drones.

And whilst there’s no doubting that virtual reality tech will become increasingly mainstream over the coming decades, and increasingly a part of everyday life, we’ll let you decide whether you’d rather take that epic road trip for real.

All the images in this post are free to reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution licence. Please simply credit JCT600 as the source.

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