E-Car: how it should be architected?

Sunday, October 18, 2009 11:10 PM

By Kostia Khait

I am discussing the future of automotive very often. Sometimes with people who are smart and experienced in the subject. And... It seems to me something is wrong in "mass mind" regarding electric cars, which are the strongest technology trend in automotive.

We all see that everybody considers electric cars are to be "vehicles of future". Nobody doubts: petrol is ending, earlier or later it will become too expensive. Electric motors are having better ratio, easier in control, ecologically clearer and so on. And many people wants to push e-cars to the market just now. But fails. Fails due to the small distance to recharge, worse dynamics, not ready infrastructure... many reasons. Or many claims?

I insist in the main problem is outside of this area. The main problem is in "mass mind". There are two main trends in e-cars engineering. One is "just a car, but on electric power". They try to replace gasoline engine with electric engine not changing other characteristics like body design, dynamics etc. For smooth transfer of the users from traditional to e-cars. It doesn't work. Because e-power is not gasoline power and e-car can not be the same to traditional cars.

There is another trend. People try to do "something very different". Exotic. Non-functional, non-native, but looking different to traditional cars. And mass user doesn't accept this. For sure.

I am wondered why nobody does the very simple thing. Position e-car as "not a regular car". Just vehicle with obvious and native characteristics. E-car must be (technically) light? Make it for one/two persons. The most time we are driving alone. It must have good aerodynamics? Make it in traditional sport style. Retro. Carbon. Plastic. It can not be as fast as traditional cars? How many people in big cities need to go faster that 50 km/h? Just don't position it as a competitor to gasoline car. Do it special "everyday" vehicle. For students. For young. For active. Who needs wheels. Who wants to be different. And would not want just to compete with others. I am sure, it will work. At least electric scooters idea is working. Just now.


Alex said...

That's the very strategy that worked so well for hybrids. Both Toyota Prius and Honda Insight had those quirky looks. And that was done on purpose, so that everyone could see that this was something different. Now there are plenty of hybrid versions of mass-produced vehicles, but Prius is still an eco icon.

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. I've thought about this alot..... it sure raises a few questions..

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