Electrics and nerds
Posted by kernelbob on September 17, 2008
Take a look at this. ecomodder.com: 10 Electric Cars You Can Buy Today.
Notice anything? Every one of those cars is weird looking. Not just design-didn’t-quite-gel like an Impreza or a Kia Sedona, but Popular-Science-cars-of-the-future weird. Cars nobody except J. I. Q. Nerdelbaum Frink could envision himself driving.
An electric car can’t look just like a normal car; it needs to be about a thousand pounds lighter. But here are some cars from history that weighed less than a ton without looking like a prop from Professor Gadget. Honda CRX. Honda Civic up through 1987 or so. BMW 2002. Datsun 510, B210. Mini (the original, not the BMW). Porsche 914. Fiat 500. Any MG, Triumph, or Austin-Healey. Heck, just about any small European or Japanese car from before 1970.
Here’s what I think is happening. The EV companies are all run by zealots. They’re so sure that EV is the right answer that they’re not thinking about basic business: what will appeal to mainstream customers, what people will like showing off to their friends and neighbors, what people want to own and drive. Some of them probably subconsciously hate cars and try to make cars that show their disdain.
Someday an electric designed and built by responsible adults will come along, designed to sell to normal people, and it’ll do very well. Hasn’t happened yet.
I bet it won’t happen with the Chevy Volt, either.