Readers who have been diligently following this blog will recall that quite some time back I was bemoaning the gradual demise of my beloved manual transmission gearboxes. Unsurprisingly, in the months that followed that entry, the manual gearbox has been under a further and renewed onslaught by the much fancier double clutch gearbox variants. Led by VW and their pioneering developments in this field, the manual gearbox is being hunted to extinction. I fear that in the next decade, manual gearboxes will head the way of the Dodo bird.
But I am pretty sure that the manual gearbox won't be the only feature in the conventional motor-vehicle that our great grandchildren will only read about in history books. Digging deep into my not so trusty crystal ball, here are my other picks for vehicle technologies headed towards endangered species or extinct status.
The Plain Old Naturally Aspirated Engine Powered by Petrol
Yes, you heard me right. Lovers of the NA engine, you would do well to appreciate the cars that you are owning now. Because, give us another decade or so and there will no longer be a NA engine as we currently know it. From the way the major leading manufacturers are headed, it appears that soon we will all either be driving vehicles with hybrid NA engines powered partly by some strange eco-fuel or those with force-induction engines. With environmental friendliness being the new buzzword, there doesn't seem to be many years left for the conventional petrol driven NA engines as we know them.
The Car Key
Bet you didn't think of this one! But my murky crystal ball suggests that this is one piece of car kit that is slowly and silently headed to its demise. After all, the technologies to replace the car key have already been reliably developed and in use for years. I am referring to the keyless entry and push start technologies, of course. While these technologies have gained the biggest acceptance in the more upmarket vehicles, they are already creeping in as standard features on mass market models as well. Eventually, the technologies will get cheaper and in the interests of saving costs by sharing parts, car manufacturers will soon have them as standard on every car, even the budget ones.
What are your picks for car technologies that you think will be obsolete in the upcoming years?