Where we’re going, we don’t need roads


Sci-fi’s vision of the future is starting to be seen today

Canada has committed to measuring zero emissions by the year 2035. In less than 15 years, our cars, roads and infrastructure will look a lot more like non-fiction than sci-fiction. 

With the future feeling more present than ever, take a look at which movies predicted and inspired the electric vehicles we will be driving in the cities of “tomorrow.” 

Art imitates life imitates art

Though an exact period isn’t mentioned, at first glance, the cars in Gattaca appear to be upcycled models from the ’60s and ’70s-era. However, the vehicles conspicuously hum rather than chug their way down the road.

In 1992 General Motors was tinkering away at creating sustainable ultra-efficient engines. They put their innovation into a carbon-fibre bubble-glass vehicle called the Ultralite, a bubble-glass vehicle. In the not-so-distant world of 2032, Demolition Man sees Sylvester and Sandra speed through the city in a cop cruiser based on the concept of this design…with a tiny addition. It was the first to introduce the idea of a retractable steering wheel.   

In the same year as our target, 2035, I, Robot is based on futurist philosopher Isaac Asimov’s short-story collection. It features an Audi-inspired concept car that drives itself on four spheres instead of wheels. 

Minority Report whizzed Tom Cruise around 2054 in small pods that drive themselves: The Lexus CS2054. Lexus would make the car the center of a promotional nexus that gave online tours of its advanced, voice-activated infotainment system and self-driving features. 

Ripley came out of hypersleep in 2122 and introduced us to the M577, an electric assault vehicle almost as ugly as the Aliens

Though not as “space-agey” as Minority Report or as dystopian as Aliens, Justin Timberlake’s In Time was confident that by 2169 we would have replaced gas with an electrical current. 

From on screen to on the roads

Now, we’re finally seeing similar designs and technology trickling into showrooms. We can’t wait to see what the new vision for the future is at next year’s Autoshow circuit. And it may very well feature an appearance of a prototype made by 4 Ottawa University students for an EV design contest. Created by the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA) as a response to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2035 mandate, the rules were to design a concept that could be used to build an original, full-build, zero-emissions vehicle. The hope is that the car can go on tour in late 2022 and go into production by 2025. 

Innovations in design and new inspirations in style are preparing us for a kinetic next decade in the auto industry and the planet’s health. Young engineers are studying ways to influence change and how art and design impact our global society. Our future is in good hands with these minds experimenting with how we drive into the future.