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Hardcover | $24.95 | £17.95 | ISBN: 9780262013826 | 240 pp. | 8 x 8 in | 84 b&w illus.| January 2010
Paperback | $21.95 | £15.95 | ISBN: 9780262528450 | 240 pp. | 8 x 8 in | 84 b&w illus.| August 2015
Ebook | $17.95 | ISBN: 9780262288545 | 240 pp. | 8 x 8 in | 84 b&w illus.| January 2010
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Reinventing the Automobile

Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century


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 are 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.

The fundamental reinvention of the automobile won’t be easy, but it is an urgent necessity—to make urban mobility more convenient and sustainable, to make cities more livable, and to help bring the automobile industry out of crisis.

About the Authors

William J. Mitchell was the Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr., Professor of Architecture and Media Arts and Sciences and directed the Smart Cities research group at MIT’s Media Lab.

Christopher Borroni-Bird is GM’s Director of Advanced Technology Vehicle Concepts.

Lawrence D. Burns advises companies, governments, and universities on transportation, energy, and communications systems and technology. He was Vice President of Research and Development at General Motors from 1998 to 2009.


The content is intelligent, well laid out, entertaining, understandable, and approachable...Often, works about the future of the automobile industry are just tools to express idealistic beliefs or anti-industry sentiments. This book is refreshing because the authors understand the whole package in terms of current problems, and their solutions, and succinctly present a glimpse of a future (and a present) that people can feel good about.

It isn’t technological barriers so much as closed minds that are holding back the necessary evolution of the automobile; using calm and devastatingly inarguable logic, this is a virtual step-by-step manual that deploys an original idea on every page to show exactly how it can and should be achieved. If you care about cars, read this book: it opens your mind and lets the future in.
Bruce McCall, artist and writer, The New Yorker

Visionary in its totality, it is also soberly realistic.
Peter D. Norton, Metascience

Presents a fascinating and challenging model of technological possibilities.
Martin Wachs, Issues in Science and Technology


CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, 2010.