In the next 10-15 years, choosing your new car will simply be a case of choosing which container you prefer for your battery packs. And at some point soon after, for your self-driving algorithm.
In many ways that’s a very good thing. Obviously that power needs to be generated somehow, and there are debates over exactly how much the environment benefits, but on the whole it’s beneficial that humanity tries to find ways to live on Earth in less harmful ways, and for anyone outside large cities, public transport is usually problematic at best for daily life.
But I can’t help feeling sad about this particular area of progress.
I’ve grown up romantically involved with the internal combustion engine. I loved the freedom it gave me at 17 when I passed my driving test, and the exhilaration I felt when I did the same on two wheels.
Some of my favourite memories are riding through remote Welsh forests on an enduro bike, or the overwhelming experience of my first track day at Brands Hatch, having been brought up as a fan of all forms of motor racing.
I’ve spent time with my dad in the garage coaxing vehicles back to life, and if I wasn’t sure my father always enjoyed having a rebellious teenage son around, it was shown by watching him standing knee deep in snow replacing a water pump on my first car.
There’s something about the sound, the noise, the smell, and the empowerment of commanding those initially mysterious mechanical workings.
With all the talk about skeuomorphism when it comes to iPhone apps and websites, I wonder whether anyone will be able to successfully capture any of those feelings and emotions in the future, or whether the back of my mind will still be mourning the decline of the petrol engine?
It does mean that when I dream about owning my dream garage, I may need to invest in a small scale oil refinery at the same time.