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The Ride's auto predictions for 2017: Car sharing, electric vehicles and luxury automatons




Alfa Romeo's 2017 Stelvio is a luxury SUV designed to compete with models from Porsche, Bentley and Range Rover.
Alfa Romeo's 2017 Stelvio is a luxury SUV designed to compete with models from Porsche, Bentley and Range Rover.
Alfa Romeo USA

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There was no lack of news in the mobility world in 2016. Perhaps the biggest story: the VW emissions scandal. But it was also a year when autonomous cars began to look inevitable, and when the world's big automakers began to rethink their future as "mobility companies."

So, what's in store for 2017? Our motor critic, Sue Carpenter, identified a few areas and trends.

Car sharing takes off

GM is expanding its Maven service, which allows people to rent cars by the hour and is focused on linking them to public transportation. It's now available at Union Station and will continue rolling out at Metro stations during the coming year.

And Waivecar is growing, too. It offers free "rentals" by wrapping its electric cars in advertising. After gaining a foothold in Santa Monica, Waivecar is expanding its fleet to 150 cars available across L.A.

Electrics are here to stay

Analysts covering Tesla are convinced the company will keep its promise and begin delivering the first of its Model 3s in the second half of 2017. Meanwhile, GM will beat Tesla to the market with its Chevy Bolt, which offers 270 miles on a charge. And Faraday Future, a local company backed by Chinese investors, says it will have its luxury electric in production this year as well. 

Some hot and sexy new stuff

Alfa Romeo is joining luxury car makers like Bentley and Porsche in offering a very high-end SUV, the Stelvio. Audi goes autonomous with its A8 luxury sedan. For the first time, BMW will offer an electric version of its popular 3 series. And for anyone who ever wanted a Toyota RAV, but smaller, the Japanese company offers the C-H4.

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