It’s fair to say that cars and I aren’t the most natural of pairings. I have no interest in regularly upgrading the car that I drive and couldn’t name the latest must-have makes and models if my life depended on it.
Yet, this week, my interest was piqued during a discussion with several industry experts about one of the latest developments to hit the company car scene: Tesla electric cars.
Some of the features of these models could have come straight from some of my childhood imaginings of what the world would look like in the future (in the days when anything more than 10 years hence would naturally appear space age and futuristic).
As well as the ability to accelerate from 0-60 in less than three seconds, these cars also have a self-drive feature, which requires the driver to do little more than set their car on their desired course and a ‘summon’ function, which enables the driver to set it to self park, and drive out of the parking space via the touch of a smartphone. Personally, I hope this latter feature catches on more widely!
But, while such features are revolutionising the motor industry, what do they mean for company cars and fleet managers?
For example, how comfortable should employers be in effectively handing over responsibility for their drivers’ safety to a piece of machinery?
And should the self-drive function fail while on the road, where would liability for any consequences of this sit?
Or, conversely, would this feature actually remove an element of driver risk?
In addition, with this make of car being so reliant on technology, could this lead to employees feeling as if they are being continually monitored by their employer while they are on the road?
Only time will tell. In the meantime, I’m off to find a car that can park itself…