Are boring electric car demos the best way to sell to electric cars?
Vehicles like the Jeep CJ5 are often displayed at auto shows in fun exhibits with fake muddy hills allowing the public to experience off-road driving. Over on the TXCHNOLOGIST blog today it's noted that, in contrast, electric cars are sometimes shown on indoor tracks with a 5 miles/hr maximum speed, which doesn't give any chance of any sort of adrenalin rush. Which begs the question of the best way to offer prospective electric car owners the experience that will sell them on owning an electric car.
Electric cars have been saddled for years with the stereotyped image of slow boring ugly golf carts. An example is the Citicar, built in the mid-70's, in the middle of the oil crises, and one of the earlier waves of electric vehicle development. That was a flimsy electric car, with a fiberglass body, either a 36- or 48- volt drive train, a top speed of under 40 miles/hr, and by modern standards a very primitive electrical system. Almost 3,000 of them were sold, and some people still have a fondness for these early electric cars, but in no stretch could one say they were exciting. Similarly the Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV's) of more recent times, generally upgraded golf carts with a legal restriction of 25 miles/hr maximum speed, do little more than reinforce the "slow boring ugly golf cart" stereotype.