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We're not about to raze suburban cities to the ground, so electric cars are a good in-between.

This is the right way to think about it. EVs are a transitional technology. They allow us to maintain the current lifestyle choices while simultaneously empowering the reduction of reliance on fossil fuels. One can make no further statements without venturing into speculation on potential "best" futures that many find objectionable.

I'd personally like to see a future in which housing in cities is much denser, public transportation much better and private automobiles are considered a nuisance to be born by the relatively few who need them. But, even though most people consider that an extreme position, there are a lot of ideas that are commonplace today that were previously considered extreme.

I don't see suburban areas ever becoming truly mass transit viable.

I DO see a future where the benefits of living in denser-packed cities outpace the downsides, encouraging more and more of the US population to live in areas that are (or become) population dense enough for car-free lifestyles to be viable.

There are plenty of parts of London (typically zone 3 and out) which is full of low rise single family homes. The transit links in most of these areas are good enough that you can easily get by without a car (even as a family, although of course it would be easier by car). At least by my definition these would be a "suburban area".

An example I’ve used to some effect is payment systems. How we pay for stuff has changed tremendously, and more and more business is done through Venmo/Cash/Apple Pay/NFC/etc. But that transition needed some major infrastructure: first direct transfers through payment systems (eg debit/credit cards) then electronic payment systems. I see transit similarly, and electric cars are like credit cards - a technology that enables a transition.

There is no reason not to consider getting better mass transit into suburbs, along with densification of suburbs and other land use changes.

Some simple alterations to zoning/planning regulations would lead to more mixed residential/commercial uses even in already-existing developments. And that would make working and commuting locally _within_ the suburbs themselves more feasible.

Put it this way, if we were to take all the _private_ capital being invested in advanced automobiles, self-driving tech, etc. and somehow have that invested in _public_ infrastructure -- the cost effectiveness of mass transit into suburbs would look entirely different.

I think this is hard for North Americans to really imagine, because it just runs contrary to all senses of pragmatism, not to mention a general ideological adherence to private enterprise as primary driver of development. But there are definitely places in Europe and Asia where this has been to some degree the case. On my last trip to visit family in Germany we were able to get out into very rural areas, villages, natural areas, etc. completely on public transit.

The cost-benefit ratio of pushing mass transit out to suburbs just isn't there. They are separate cities, so you can't just say the metropolis should foot the bill (despite being the recipient of their work), you can't get the suburban cities to pay for it, since it's beyond what they can realistically foot.

The infrastructure isn't there, and putting it in in 2019 is financially untenable.

Yeah, the carbon cost of abandoning the suburbs and building enough apartment units for everyone there is rarely considered when people say we have to abandon all cars.

People are going to abandon a $200k investment to pay high rent in a city? Because if everyone has to leave the suburbs, no one will buy those houses.

I fully support increasing urbanization, but hate for electric cars (because it's not the "perfect" solution: public transit) like this is not well thought through.

Better public transportation plus biking/walking/skating can handle the lion's share of this.

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