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Lost the User’s Eyes
L os t t he User 's Eyes
Why have electric vehicles remained so unpopular in
Germany? One way to answer this question is to present a new
version of the old chicken-or-the-egg dilemma. Are people in
Germany opting not to buy electric vehicles because the country’s
public charging infrastructure is insufficient? Or has too little
been done to build a sufficient charging infrastructure because
people aren’t buying electric vehicles? Choosing not to wait for
an answer to the dilemma, the German Federal Ministry of
Transport and Digital Infrastructure actually announced a plan
to allocate 300 million euros throughout the next three years to
help finance a more comprehensive charging network.
This move on the part of the government sends the right
signal both to the owners of electric cars in Germany and to
all those other people in Germany who are considering the
purchase of an electric vehicle. Indeed, when considered together
with recent industry announcements about the approaching
market introduction of new electric vehicles offering more
attractive ranges, it seems that something is at last being done.
While the federal program is essentially no more than a
stimulus measure, it is nonetheless important when it comes to
promoting a breakthrough for electric vehicles in the coming
years, and thereby establishing a cleaner alternative to vehicles
powered by internal combustion engines.
However, given that there is still quite a bit of room for failure,
the program’s implementation will have to be guided by good
judgement and a spirit of pragmatism. Moreover, the relevant
stakeholders in the automotive industry are called upon to play a
constructive role. And this is where a good measure of caution is
advised because the past performance of these stakeholders looks
more like a brazen disregard of the needs of consumers – difficult
to comprehend in times of design thinking, customer experience
and total product customisation via digital manufacturing.
Why are companies building affordable electric vehicles with
long-range batteries that can only be properly charged using
expensive fast-charge technology? How have we wound up
with a growingly heterogeneous and poorly functioning
commercial charging infrastructure with target-area limitations?
Why do the drivers of electric vehicles have to complete
multiparameter research projects to determine where and when they
can recharge their vehicles before taking a trip? Isn’t the tangle
of multiple plug standards, charging currents, station types and
infrastructure systems a clear sign that the consumer has been
left out of the equation?
The use of new electric vehicle technology needs to be a
matter of second nature to the driver, i.e. both intuitive and
carefree. Achieving this will enable drivers to rediscover the
pleasure of driving in its new ecologically responsible and
sensuously quiet electric form – cross town and over hill and dale.
So let’s get started, the time has never been better for a real