What’s the difference between an electric car, a connected car and a driverless car?

If you’ve been following the tech headlines lately, chances are you’ve heard about electric, connected and driverless cars. There’s a lot of excitement about these technologies and their ability to make driving a lot safer and more comfortable. However, what exactly are they and are there any differences between the terms?

Electric cars

Electric cars refers to vehicles that are powered by electricity rather than petrol or diesel. These are environmentally-friendly cars, so their use tends to be encouraged by governments across the world. In the UK, for instance, electric car drivers can avoid London’s congestion charge. Users can also easily charge their cars up at home, so there’s no need for regular trips to the petrol station! The downside is they aren’t as powerful and don’t yet have the range of petrol cars.

Connected cars

This is a very broad term referring to cars which come equipped with connected features, such as Wi-Fi connectivity. A car can be electric, connected and driverless. Increasingly, carmakers are focusing on the in-car experience, providing infotainment services (interactive dashboards, the ability to use Spotify), as well as access to artificial intelligence software, provided by the likes of Google, Microsoft and Apple.  Alibaba also unveiled a new “internet car”. 

Other connected features include Virtual Car Keys (VCKs), which mean you can access your car with your smartphone rather than a traditional set of keys.

Autonomous or ‘driverless’ cars

In the not so distant future, the role of a driver is going to be very different thanks to autonomous technology. Using powerful sensors, cameras and the Internet of Things, tech companies and car manufacturers are testing vehicles that can drive themselves. At MWC 2017, a driverless racing car was revealed, demonstrating the speed at which the technology is developing. A car can be electric, connected and autonomous all at once!

You can read more about the next generation of vehicles on our dedicated webpage. If you’ve got any questions, please submit a comment below.