Sunday, September 16, 2012

REVIEW 3: Who killed the electric car?

Did you know that electric cars existing over 100 years ago and where used over petrol running cars? Who knew? Well, when I viewed this film it was interesting to hear how the electric car was popular once then faded in and out, whilst the petrol car came to be more popular and frequently purchased. This video explores the reasons why the electric car wasn’t and still isn’t a great success to consumers and addresses the continuous debate.

Initially, electric cars where quiet and smooth to run and could be charged from home compared to the gasoline run cars. Thus it was the fast changing world whereby gasoline cars were preferred due to their momentum, cheaper gas, and automatic starters. It had the edge. However, there was one fault to the car, it created smog. This issue was the beginning of poor air quality especially in America, influencing diseases and respiratory illnesses effecting adults and children.

In retrospect the film focused on the idea of why the electric car which was a great alternative and solution to the health issues being faced with a gasoline car was being dismissed by the public. It questioned who was to blame and what where the reasons to do away with it.

It mentioned that electric cars were gaining their momentum in their use by Americans but it was the sceptics that stopped the change. This was insightful, as some consumers felt that they couldn’t trust the cars enough to switch, in terms of strength, size, function and ability to understand this new technology. It had inconsistent utility providence.

An interesting point raised was that depending on how much information the consumers were being provided with, influenced the purchasing behaviour of the consumer. This said was rebutted with the fact that oil companies have a great influence in the automotive industry, which discouraged the alternative electric car, due to it affecting their finance standing (profits).

The line of reasoning continues throughout the video, battling the reasons of who did and didn’t want it? and why it was eliminated?. There seems to be an ongoing blame game between consumers, technology, companies, politics and governments that have influenced the discontinuing of the electric car. Furthermore this said, the argument has influenced other developments, such as the Hybrid, trying to address a greener automotive industry, but there is still a challenge in acceptance and adaptation of greener cars.

 Overall, with the arguments unfolded on electric cars and a greener environment displayed by various parties Industrial Designers can take these views and try to encourage greener products. It creates an opportunity for greener design and encourages eco friendly designs as trustworthy and similar to existing products.
So key messages of this video where:

(a)    Consumers base their decisions on the knowledge and experience of the product. So some consumers felt that they couldn’t trust the electric cars enough to switch. Whilst others where willing to help the environment thus society in the future with their health.

(b)   Electric Cars were environmentally friendly. Although it was the reason of poor utility providence in comparison to gasoline cars that it didn’t succeed.

(c)    This decision was heavily influenced by the opinions of the consumers, politics, government, automotive industries, technology as well hidden agendas of oil companies and their financial standing.

(d)   Through decades of argument, it has led many to think of creating products for a greener environment but the challenge today is for consumers to move away from that mindset that eco products aren’t an equalised function to existing products. Acceptance is the key to the future of greener products.

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