Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century

New MIT Press book by Prof. William J. Mitchell, Christopher Borroni-Bird and Lawrence Burns.

This book provides a long-overdue vision for a new automobile era. The cars we drive today follow the same underlying design principles as the Model Ts of a hundred years ago and the tail-finned sedans of fifty years ago. In the twenty-first century, cars are still made for twentieth-century purposes. They're well suited for conveying multiple passengers over long distances at high speeds, but inefficient for providing personal mobility within cities—where most of the world's people now live. In this pathbreaking book, William Mitchell and two industry experts reimagine the automobile, describing vehicles of the near future that are green, smart, connected, and fun to drive. They roll out four big ideas that will make this both feasible and timely.


Four Big Ideas That Could Transform the Automobile:

  • Base the underlying design principles on electric-drive and wireless communications rather than the internal combustion engine and stand-alone operation
  • Develop the Mobility Internet for sharing traffic and travel data
  • Integrate electric-drive vehicles with smart electric grids that use clean, renewable energy sources
  • Establish dynamically priced markets for electricity, road space, parking space, and shared-use vehicles

Read on at the MIT Press website

William J. Mitchell is the Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr., Professor of Architecture and Media Arts and Sciences and directs the Smart Cities research group at MIT's Media Lab. He is the author of many books, including The World's Greatest Architect (2008) and Placing Words: Symbols, Space, and the City (2005), both published by the MIT Press.

Christopher E. Borroni-Bird is Director of Advanced Vehicle Concepts at General Motors.

Before his retirement, Lawrence D. Burns was Vice President of Research and Development at General Motors.
Press (see also Publications)
Reinventing the Automobile, Fast Company. 3/24/2010

"A Complete Rethink," Metropolis Magazine. 3/17/2010

"Redesigning the Concept and Role of the Automobile," New York Times. 3/7/2010