The future of cars

Today, we discuss the future of the automobile and all of its possibilities with Sven Beiker.  Sven discusses car specialization and why the “Swiss Army Knife” car just won’t work.  We also talk about changing driver patterns, connecting your car to the internet, how changing cars might change our roads as well, along with a brief exploration of how the idea of our cars as a symbol of freedom might be shifting.  We also take a second to figure out how to say the plural of the Toyota Prius.

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Sven Beiker 
Sven Beiker is the Executive Director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford (CARS). CARS is dedicated to re-envisioning the automobile, and Sven’s goal is to bring academia and industry together to shape the automotive future. He also teaches a class entitled “The Future of the Automobile,” which aims to educate students in interdisciplinary automotive thinking and to get students involved with the industry early on. Before joining Stanford University, Sven worked at the BMW Group for more than 13 years. In the course of his career, he has worked in three major automotive and technology locations: Germany, the Silicon Valley, and Detroit.


Miles Traer
Miles Traer began his academic career at UC Berkeley with a double major in Geophysics and Art History.  He is currently a fifth-year PhD student in the Tectonic Geomorphology Lab modeling the evolution of the seafloor.  Miles was first turned on to podcasts in 2007 and quickly became an avid consumer.  Some of his favorites include The BS Report, the StarTalk Radio podcast, In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg, The Nerdist, and WTF with Marc Maron.  In addition to his work as a scientist, Miles works as a part-time artist, contributing the art of this website including the portraits found on each interview’s page (drawn by hand).  When he’s not working on science or this podcast, you can generally find him cooking cajun gumbo and listening to blues.

Hunter Ploch
Hunter, a recent graduate from Stanford, studied environmental science as an undergrad and will continue his education at Stanford next year by pursuing a Masters degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Hunter’s interest in electric vehicles stems from a summer of research with interviewee, Sven Beiker, when Hunter studied electric vehicle driving patterns. While his next year of school will not specifically cover electrical vehicles, Hunter knows that electric vehicles will be a huge part of the future transportation and energy systems. Hunter was born in Santa Barbara, California and played on Stanford’s Men’s Varsity Water Polo for 4 years. He enjoys traveling, playing his guitar with friends, and hand on projects.