Elon Musk is beginning to deliver electric cars to masses this year with the advent of the Model 3
These cars look amazing. I truly believe it's going to change the way we drive over the next 20 years. Hopefully we'll get flying cars next. Until that time, this is the future and present of cars and it's exciting!
Technology has increased to the point where an electric car can be charged at a fantastic rate, but it still takes half an hour or longer to fully charge one. https://www.tesla.com/supercharger (scroll to the bottom)
This is exceptional compared to where we used to be, but in today's world, many people will still consider it to be a reason not to buy. People hate waiting (myself included). There's another potential solution for the future. It's a concept borrowed from the old west, which was borrowed from ancient times and the need to get messages from one place to the other with as little delay as possible.
In the old west, the Pony Express as well as stagecoach companies would have swing stations where riders and coaches could exchange for fresh horses. This enabled them to continue their journey without delay.
Tesla Swing Stations
I consider this to be an unlikely scenario, but one that is interesting from a sci-fi point of view and whose potential is worth considering.
Tesla, or other companies could come up with a program where a person joins for a fee. In exchange, they can drive an electric car to a swing station, and rather than wait for their car to recharge, they just move their belongings to another electric car. At the next station, they drop that one off and switch to another. Thus there would be limited wasted time on long journeys.
It could be a viable option for busy travelers such as salespeople. No matter where they went, there would always be a Tesla waiting for them. They wouldn't have to worry about maintenance or upkeep of a vehicle.
Some of the Challenges
People would have to make certain their belongings went with them.
If a person did any damage it would be an extra charge.
The program would be expensive in order to cover the cost of all the vehicles.
The program would only take place once there were enough cars to make a large inventory affordable.
People like the comfort of owning their own car. It's unlikely they would want to exchange vehicles on a regular basis.
The current system of rental cars may be a better solution
It would be unnecessary in cities where there will likely be charging stations in most locations at some point in the next 20 years, negating the need for wait times. If your car charges at the restaurant, or while you're at work, then there's no need to exchange vehicles.
A concept of exhanging batteries at stations has already been considered by Tesla, so the idea of Swing Stations, may not be feasible.
The reception of the battery swap concept was presented by Elon Musk to his customers, but received little support http://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/car-technology/news/a25872/elon-musk-tesla-battery-swap/
If Elon Musk succeeds in his Boring Company and Car Sleds, the sleds that transfer the cars could charge them at the same time, reducing the need for swing stations. The swing stations would be more for areas where the hyperloop didn't run, such as in the open lands of the west.
This is an esoteric concept idea, one of countless possibilities for humanity's future.
All my best,
John H. Carroll