If you imagine a taxi without a human driver, then the main cost is fuel. And cheap fuel is what electric vehicles are really good at. So in the morning a fleet of EVs will meet various peak-time commuters and take them to work. Then during the day, some of the EVs will be shuttling people around on nonpeak trips of various kinds while others are charging. Then there’s the big evening peak commute, and then you go back into off-peak mode. This whole fleet of cars designed for intracity travel never needs to develop even the range that the Model S has today. Yes, people will also want to take longer trips. And those trips will require some different vehicle. Maybe one with a higher capacity battery, maybe one with an internal combustion engine. But the vast majority of the car trips people take are short. The entire range problem with electric vehicles is because people want to own one car that meets all their car needs. But that “one person, one vehicle” paradigm is purely an artifact of the assumption that the vehicle’s owner needs to drive the car.
One of the greatest advances in human freedom was that very individual ownership of the car. For the first damn time in history the working man had something that was his, not communal, not familial, but his, which would transport him to and from work….or the pub, his inamorata, the seaside, the fish and chip shop.
FFS, the Model T was responsible for more non-virgin marriages than any previous invention in history other than Viking raids.
Yes, we could meet our transport needs by a communally, or state, or corporately owned fleet. But not the freedoms and liberties we’ve become used to, no.