Analysis of who killed the electric car Background The problem In 1990s, California was threatened by smog problem, and black cloud appeared in the sky. Air pollution problem resulted in the development of lung cancer and associated diseases in people. The gasoline car was one of the main factors that released carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, which lead to global warming. Facing the risk of devastation of human’s living place and health, California proposed to develop cars that run on clean energy.
To comply with the state environmental policy and economic trend, GM produced the first electric car, which was called EV1, and its first presence on the road was in 1996. The creation and prohibition The aim to replace gasoline car with electric car was to reduce the emission of air pollutants. Plug-in electric vehicles are next generation clean cars that use electric batteries charged from an external source. With smart strategies and a favorable policy framework, these vehicles present an exciting opportunity to reduce air pollution, save drivers more than $1,200 per year on gasoline and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Environmental Law & Policy Center] Seeing the business trend of electric cars, the development of electric car has soared in a short period. Many other car companies imitated GM to produce the electric car, and even launch new design electric vehicles to ingratiate consumers’ taste. However, less than a decade, automakers were required to stop producing electric cars. This prohibition was not very understandable for many people, and it was also controversial to balance the technology development and the environment. The Suspects
According to the documentary movie Who killed the Electric Car, consumers, federal government, California Air Resource Board, hydrogen fuel cell, and so forth are regarded as suspects of killing the electric car. Based on a large number of statistic, videos and facts, all suspects are found guilty. Each group considers the benefits based on their points of view, but neglect the influence on others. Social responsibilities should be taken to balance the pros and cons of electric cars’ presence. To elaborate more evidences about the “killing,” the analysis of the three main suspects will be listed in the following.
Consumers: Affect EV’s Business Trend Positive attitude and expectation towards EV Many people believe that electric car is an amazing idea. They have a deep impression on electric car, which is fast, modern, cool, sexy, and quiet with less pollution than other normal gasoline cars. The vast majority desire to own an electric car, but unfortunately the supply is not enough to meet the demand. Consumers are eager to sign up on the waitlist and expect to eventually have one in the future. However, only 50 out of 4000 people who sign up on the list can get the EV1.
For those EV drivers, they hold positive attitude toward the car. Their appraisals mainly focus on two aspects, which are convenience and effectiveness. The electric car is given the ease to charge at home and electricity stations. All drivers appreciate the easiness to plug in the car when they are at home. Another reason that consumers like the idea of electric car is that the air condition can be improved, while air quality is closely related to their health. With consumers’ expectation and the foreseeable development, the electric car is supposed to be more and more popular in the future.
One of the specialists in the EV product line, Chelsea Sexton, even says that electric car is the dream car of American. Risk of uncertainty * Despite of the positive opinions of the EV drivers, they commonly have issues on the car’s price, functions, and range. The electric car is well designed in saving energy, but it only has a limited range around 100 miles. Electric car is a “chicken and egg” issue. Consumers resist purchasing an electric car if there are not enough charging stations and repair service centers. The Guardian] Electric car was a new fashion product in the 1990s, while the charging stations haven’t been well established within the state. Electric cars need to recharge after driving 70 to 80 miles.
The problem emerges to those drivers who need to drive more than that range. Although drivers can easily charge their cars in their garage, but the risk of uncertainty is that they are not guarantee to have charging stations in somewhere far away from their home or the local area. Troubles could happen if they go for a long distance trip. The high prices tag of electric car is unreasonable for consumers. A cost of $30,000 to $40,000 made the electric car extremely expensive in 1990s. Many consumers cannot afford it, and they expect to pay less because the electric car works less. Besides the EV drivers, the massive consumers propose tremendous potential problems toward the electric car. They doubt whether the trunk is big enough, safe enough, how to fix it, and so forth; while the automakers didn’t promise to guarantee the practical solutions for consumers.
Analysis – Consumer is one of the most affective suspects Consumers, as one of the most important groups that affect the economic, have a massive impact on the business trend of a product. Consumer behavior mainly determines the demand and fate of the EV. Instead of considering EV’s most important function of saving the environment and energy, consumers tend to focus on their personal and financial issues, such as price and size. They could not see the difference between the electric car and the car they usually drive because they don’t read the environmental impact information.
Dan Neil, who works for Los Angeles Times, claims that American consumers did not accept the idea of electric car. Although EV has a limit range, it is still functional, useful, and practical, and therefore consumers should not only compare the price and regular functions between electric cars and regular gasoline cars. They lack an in-depth understanding to see the benefits of owning an electric car, which lead the EV1 to be taken off the market, and destroyed in the landfill. Government: The Creator and Killer of EV1
The power of policies increases EVs’ sales volume Government has the biggest effect on EV as federal policies always have tremendous power to shake the future. 40 years ago, the cars on the road were less efficient with a low fuel economy standard. In 1970s, federal government mandated average fuel economy in a car, which is no less than 15 mpg. It increased to 27 mpg within a decade, while it remained no changes in two decades after 1985. Government invests a large amount of funds to develop the electric cars, pursuing returns with meeting the fuel economy standard.
Early in 1990s before EVs’ presence, California Air Resource Board (CARB) declared Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate (ZEV Mandate), which was designed to rapidly expand the number of electric vehicles available to consumers. [Ford Motor Company] According to ZEV Mandate, if automakers want to continuous to sell cars in CA, some of the vehicles have to be no exhaust. In addition, Government Incentives for Plug-in Electric cars have been established for consumers to take advantages of tax credit with purchasing electric cars. These policies serve as a powerful tool to force car companies to produce electric cars.
Restriction for automakers Sometimes, federal policies are complicated. The ZEV Mandate is established for producing more EVs and fuel-cell vehicles, but not everywhere. Although government creates ZEV Mandate to encourage automakers to produce more electric cars, California Agreement for Electric Cars requires automakers to build the market of EV based on customer demand. The Master Memorandum of Agreement points out that it helps to ensure continued progress toward a successful launch sustainable market or zero-emission vehicles in CA by using market-base strategies for introduction of zero-emission vehicles.
The opposition * Automakers are given incentives to produce more electric cars, but limited the sales volume at the same time. Both the car companies and oil industries argue that the ZEV Mandate is too strict. Dave Barthmuss, spokesman in GM, demonstrates that the company spent $1 billion to build the market, make advertisements, develop the vehicles, and build the charging stations. To combine Barthmuss’s words with ZEV Mandate, apparently automakers could not get an ideal return from the substantial investment. GM even called back the EV1s, and destroyed them.
The mandate was eventually dropped to release the burden of car companies. * Some consumers, who prefer fossil fuel cars, also voice their opposition to the government interference. They argue that California is either a champion of clean air and improved fuel efficiency or a ravening beast determined to destroy the auto industry and their freedom to choose the cars and trucks they want. [Edmunds Tips & Advice] What’s more, the environmental benefits of EVs are dubious if the EVs are charged with electricity from coal plants. There is no such thing as “clean coal. Not one single coal-burning power plant in the world is “clean. ” Every coal plant gives off a multitude of toxins, and these toxins pollute soil, water and air, and contribute to disease and death. [Fox News] Consumers believe that government should be environmental protection agency, not corporation benefit protection agency. Analysis — Government is guilty * Government created ZEV Mandate that was motivated by interests for the environmental benefits. However, the mandate could not be completed due to many limitations in terms of imbalance between energy conservation and electricity potential pollution.
Although EVs are an important technological breakthrough with substantial potential environmental benefits, these cannot be harnessed everywhere and in every condition. [Phys Org] EVs probably reduce carbon dioxide, but other types of hazardous substances could be produced into the environment. * It is no doubt that the mandate is too strict for automakers because the appropriate amount of EVs that they should produce is ambiguous. Although car companies sell EVs through market driven, they cannot produce as much amount as the actual demand. If there’s no obvious demand, automakers could not make one. To resolve the conflict among policies, automakers’ benefit, and consumers’ concern on air pollution, the mandate was dropped; while automakers were required to stop making electric cars at the same time. From the beginning of EVs’ creation to the end of the prohibition, a large amount of expenditure and time was consumed to build the cars and charging stations. The disappearance of EV1 leaded all related facilities to be useless. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hydrogen fuel cell cars are introduced and supported To retain the idea of electric cars, and consider environmental sustainability, hydrogen fuel cell cars are introduced.
They are seen as a better option for controlling pollution than the electric vehicles. The hydrogen that is used to power a fuel cell can be produced by splitting the hydrocarbons in fossil fuels or through electrolysis, which uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. [SonyClassics] President Bush also supported the idea of hydrogen fuel cell cars, and promised that fuel-cell cars will be free of pollution. [MotherJones] The obstacles of fuel-cell cars Fuel-cell cars are definitely great ideal products for the development of sustainability. However, the program is still impractical.
The major obstacles are shown in the following: * The price tags of different hydrogen fuel cell cars are unreasonable for the vast majority. Consumers cannot afford as the fuel-cell cars are sold within the price range of $50,000 to $150,000. Cars are just seen as walking tools for most of consumers, and therefore few people are willing to pay a high price for a owning a fuel-cell car. * There are no enough humankind materials to store hydrogen fuel to keep the range that people want; nonetheless hydrogen can be easily and cleanly extracted from water with existing technology. Besides the high price tags, hydrogen fuel is also expensive. A hydrogen fuel cell car even uses 3 to 4 times more energy than an electric car. * In order to expand the market and well establish hydrogen fuel cell cars program, at least 10 to 20 thousand hydrogen fueling stations are needed to build by someone. Analysis – Hydrogen fuel cell cars take the place of electric cars The presence of fuel-cell cars lead sheer electric cars to fell into disuse. On one hand, “the better option” is regarded as a substitute, switching consumers’ choice and swapping out the existing battery companies.
On the other hand, after consumers are educated with changing the value to choose a better alternative, EVs become meaningless to consumers. No one would produce it or buy it. Fuel-cell cars nevertheless attract the society with the advantage of zero emission; High price tags, limit hydrogen storage space, and a small amount of hydrogen fuel stations are puzzles for consumers. These obstacles still obstruct the market growth of fuel-cell cars. Consumers lose confidence on electric cars, and give up thinking of saving the environment with paying a high price to own a fuel-cell car.
Recommendation To improve the environment, and well establish the high technology car industry, there are many things that we can do. Not only the government has social responsibility to resolve the conflict and dilemma, consumers and automakers should also take active part in contributing to the growth of high efficiency vehicles and environmental conditions. For government Since government policies are extraordinarily affective, more incentives should be given to increase the sales volume of hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell cars.
Government can also set a price ceiling for hybrid and hydrogen vehicles. Given the ease to take advantages of tax rebate, and other financial supports, consumers and car companies will be more willing to consider the high-efficiency vehicles. For consumers To consider the future for human’s next generation, consumers also play a dynamic role in saving the Earth. Nothing will be more important than a comfortable living habitat. Consumers can use less fossil fuel in terms of reducing emission.
Switching to hybrid vehicles from gasoline cars can make a big change to the environment. Consumers should also increase the awareness that the living environment is more important than the investment they make in a high-efficiency car. Educating children with raising their consciousness to recycle and protect the environment is even effective for the future development of our planet. For automakers Automakers can look for lower cost but qualitative materials to replace unnecessary luxury parts in the vehicles, thereby decrease the price of fuel-cell cars.
Technology innovation should be ongoing introduced to upgrade the manufacture process, result in maintaining profitability. Conclusion Based on the facts, issues, and analysis, the three main suspects are found that they are all guilty in the “death” of the electric car. Consumers, federal government, and hydrogen fuel cells all have massive indirect effects on EV’s business trend and fate, which eventually lead it to fade away. In fact, everyone is responsible for building our planet. The “death” of electric cars is not a revolution, but an evolution of human’s development.
RESEARCH LOG ON HOMELESSNESS IN CROYDON, LONDON.
RESEARCH LOG ON HOMELESSNESS IN CROYDON, LONDON..
Your research log should cover all stages of your research from beginning to the end. This includes
your reflection on both primary and secondary research and research methods. It is very different
from your placement report (even if the research is being carried out at your placement). It accounts
for 20% of the module. Your research log is not a diary of what you have done but it is a reflection
on various stages of your research.
Your reflective log should ideally cover the following areas:
• Your reflection on the process of selecting your research topic, aims and objectives
• Challenges of carrying out secondary research
• Challenges of identifying respondents for primary research
• Interaction with gatekeepers / negotiating access to participants
• Changes of plan as to aims / scope of the research (does not always happen but often does)
• Forming, developing, adapting or changing the questions to participants
• Process of interviewing your respondents and lessons from it.
• Ethical issues (covering both primary and secondary research)
• Doubts about how to deal with a specific issue raised by an interviewee
• Practical barriers and lessons for future
• General lessons from carrying out the research from point A to Point Z.
There is of course an infinite number of aspects that you could cover in your reflection. What you
choose to discuss will depend on the particular experience you have as a field researcher (influenced
by your topic / the context / the people etc).
It is strongly recommended that you keep notes of your thoughts and feelings before each fieldwork
event and also immediately following each fieldwork event. Such thoughts may be vivid at the time
but become less clear or are forgotten as time goes by. It is often difficult to recall events which
happened a couple of months previously and your writing loses authenticity. You will need to write
more than 2000 words and then edit to produce a cohesive document.
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