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Electric vehicles are the wave of the future even if battery technology is not where it needs to be at present. While Elon Musk and the car makers have a spotlight on batteries, what about other components in the cars?

Old-line industrial companies like 3M, PPG and DowDuPont vie to supply car makers of the future says the Wall Street Journal in its report Latest Entrants Into Electric Car Race: Makers of Post-It Notes, Paint.

  • 3M’s traffic-safety division meanwhile is developing new types of road markings and signs to better communicate with new cars’ navigation sensors such as lane-departure warnings. Scientists there have also been developing films to camouflage sensors that monitor whether drivers are staying awake, and screens built into rear-view mirrors to display backward-facing cameras.
  • PPG Industries, the Pittsburgh-based paints and coatings maker, has been developing car paints to become more visible to electronic sensors that guide autonomous vehicles.
  • Chemical producer DowDuPont is examining how to reduce the weight of vehicles with adhesives and other materials, which would increase the time between battery charges. The Delaware- and Michigan-based company expects more demand for products, such as nylon that can withstand higher temperatures in cars with heat-generating batteries, Mr. Stone said.
  • A fourth old-line industrial company, Corning Inc., has agreements in place to install its scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass—already used in cell phones—in at least 25 different models of cars in coming years, many of them not yet in production, said Jeff Evenson, chief strategy officer at the New York-based maker of specialty glass and ceramics.

Once battery technology catches up with the needs of urban drivers, gasoline powered vehicles will quickly vanish.

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Meanwhile, in ways most have not yet begun to think about, cars are undergoing a historical transformation.

Everything about cars and how we drive them will change.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock