Reading Comprehension – The end of the age of the internal

Reading Comprehension – Passage

The passage below is accompanied by a set of six questions. Choose the best answer to each question.
CAT 2017 - Afternoon slot - Reading Comprehension - Passage - The end of the age of the internal
The end of the age of the internal combustion engine is in sight. There are small signs everywhere: the shift to hybrid vehicles is already under way among manufacturers. Volvo has announced it will make no purely petrol-engined cars after 2019…and Tesla has just started selling its first electric car aimed squarely at the middle classes: the Tesla 3 sells for $35,000 in the US, and 400,000 people have put down a small, refundable deposit towards one. Several thousand have already taken delivery, and the company hopes to sell half a million more next year. This is a remarkable figure for a machine with a fairly short range and a very limited number of specialised charging stations.

Some of it reflects the remarkable abilities of Elon Musk, the company’s founder, as a salesman, engineer, and a man able to get the most out his factory workers and the governments he deals with…Mr Musk is selling a dream that the world wants to believe in.

This last may be the most important factor in the story. The private car is…a device of immense practical help and economic significance, but at the same time a theatre for myths of unattainable self-fulfilment. The one thing you will never see in a car advertisement is traffic, even though that is the element in which drivers spend their lives. Every single driver in a traffic jam is trying to escape from it, yet it is the inevitable consequence of mass car ownership.

The sleek and swift electric car is at one level merely the most contemporary fantasy of autonomy and power. But it might also disrupt our exterior landscapes nearly as much as the fossil fuel-engined car did in the last century. Electrical cars would of course pollute far less than fossil fuel-driven ones; instead of oil reserves, the rarest materials for batteries would make undeserving despots and their dynasties fantastically rich. Petrol stations would disappear. The air in cities would once more be breathable and their streets as quiet as those of Venice. This isn’t an unmixed good. Cars that were as silent as bicycles would still be as dangerous as they are now to anyone they hit without audible warning.

The dream goes further than that. The electric cars of the future will be so thoroughly equipped with sensors and reaction mechanisms that they will never hit anyone. Just as brakes don’t let you skid today, the steering wheel of tomorrow will swerve you away from danger before you have even noticed it…

This is where the fantasy of autonomy comes full circle. The logical outcome of cars which need no driver is that they will become cars which need no owner either. Instead, they will work as taxis do, summoned at will but only for the journeys we actually need. This the future towards which Uber…is working. The ultimate development of the private car will be to reinvent public transport. Traffic jams will be abolished only when the private car becomes a public utility. What then will happen to our fantasies of independence? We’ll all have to take to electrically powered bicycles.


Q1) Which of the following statements best reflects the author’s argument?

A) Hybrid and electric vehicles signal the end of the age of internal combustion engines.
B) Elon Musk is a remarkably gifted salesman.
C) The private car represents an unattainable myth of independence.
D) The future Uber car will be environmentally friendlier than even the Tesla.

Q2) The author points out all of the following about electric cars EXCEPT

A) Their reliance on rare materials for batteries will support despotic rule.
B) They will reduce air and noise pollution.
C) They will not decrease the number of traffic jams.
D) They will ultimately undermine rather than further driver autonomy.

Q3) According to the author, the main reason for Tesla’s remarkable sales is that

A) in the long run, the Tesla is more cost effective than fossil fuel-driven cars.
B) the US government has announced a tax subsidy for Tesla buyers.
C) the company is rapidly upscaling the number of specialised charging stations for customer convenience.
D) people believe in the autonomy represented by private cars.

Q4) The author comes to the conclusion that

A) car drivers will no longer own cars but will have to use public transport.
B) cars will be controlled by technology that is more efficient than car drivers.
C) car drivers dream of autonomy but the future may be public transport.
D) electrically powered bicycles are the only way to achieve autonomy in transportation

Q5) In paragraphs 5 and 6, the author provides the example of Uber to argue that

A) in the future, electric cars will be equipped with mechanisms that prevent collisions.
B) in the future, traffic jams will not exist.
C) in the future, the private car will be transformed into a form of public transport.
D) in the future, Uber rides will outstrip Tesla sales.

Q6) In paragraph 6, the author mentions electrically powered bicycles to argue that

A) if Elon Musk were a true visionary, he would invest funds in developing electric bicycles.
B) our fantasies of autonomy might unexpectedly require us to consider electric bicycles.
C) in terms of environmental friendliness and safety, electric bicycles rather than electric cars are the future.
D) electric buses are the best form of public transport.


Q1: Option (C)
Q2: Option (D)
Q3: Option (D)
Q4: Option (C)
Q5: Option (C)
Q6: Option (B)


Q1) As per the above passage from CAT 2017 – Reading Comprehension, as privatization of cars will increase, traffic will also increase that every driver tries to escape from. Traffic jams can only be avoided when private cars become a public utility. Traffic jams refrain us from independence and independence will only be a myth till private cars are used by everyone. Option C is the right answer.

Q2 As per the above passage from CAT 2017 – Reading Comprehension, from the last paragraph we can see that with future cars, the fantasy of autonomy will come a full circle. They will work as taxis, that can be summoned anytime. So, instead of undermining driver autonomy they will further it. Option D is the right answer.

Q3 As per the above passage from CAT 2017 – Reading Comprehension, the world dreams of having full autonomy and Tesla is providing that which is the reason for Tesla’s remarkable sales. Option D is the right answer.

Q4 As per the above passage from CAT 2017 – Reading Comprehension ,the author says that as the number of private cars increase, there will be more traffic jam and the dream of independence will only be a myth. The myth can only be achieved if private cars are become a public utility. Option C is the right answer.

Q5) As per the above passage from CAT 2017 – Reading Comprehension, in the last paragraph, the author says through the sentence “The logical outcome of cars which need no driver is that they will need no owner either” which means that they will become public transport. Option (C)

Q6) As per the last paragraph from CAT 2017 – Reading Comprehension, “Traffic jams will be abolished only when the car becomes a public utility. What will happen to our fantasies of independence? We will all have to take to electrically powered bicycles”. Since independence and autonomy are synonymous, the author suggests that we will need to consider bicycles if we want autonomy.

Download CAT 2017 Question Paper with answers and detailed solutions in PDF

CAT 2017 Questions from Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension – Set 1: Despite their fierce reputation. Vikings may not have always been the plunderers and pillagers popular culture imagines them to be.
Reading Comprehension – Set 2: Typewriters are the epitome of a technology that has been comprehensively rendered obsolete by the digital age.
Reading Comprehension – Set 3: During the frigid season…it’s often necessary to nestle under a blanket to try to stay warm.
Reading Comprehension – Set 4: Creativity is at once our most precious resource and our most inexhaustible one.
Reading Comprehension – Set 5: Do sports mega events like the summer Olympic Games benefit the host city economically?
Reading Comprehension – Set 6: Scientists have long recognized the incredible diversity within a species.
Reading Comprehension – Set 7: This year alone, more than 8,600 stores could close, according to industry estimates, many of them the brand -name anchor outlets that real estate developers once stumbled over themselves to court.
Reading Comprehension – Set 8: I used a smartphone GPS to find my way through the cobblestoned maze of Geneva’s Old Town, in search of a handmade machine that changed the world more than any other invention.
Reading Comprehension – Set 9: Understanding where you are in the world is a basic survival skill, which is why we, like most species come hard-wired with specialized brain areas to create congnitive maps of our surroundings.

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