Perception and the Future of EV's

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JasonF

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#1
Anyone remember the Segway? Invented by Dean Kamen, he proclaimed that it would change the way people move around cities forever.

Sadly, the public perception attached to the Segway as being an awkward, dorky, expensive toy for the rich and police departments doomed not only the company, but the entire sector of similar devices, to near oblivion (mass market simpler "hoverboard" replacements came along, but still never really changed transport).

Where that's concerning to us is, EV's in general have a reputation of being cars for people who think they know better than everyone else, who like to pretend that are trendy or cool, but actually come off as jerks or dorks who are met with scorn from everyone else. EV's are not thought of as serious tools to save money and stress, and help with personal budgeting and planning, with less variability due to fuel and maintenance costs. They are not thought of as a serious move to give us all stability, energy independence, and less pollution.

That reputation has to change. I'm not sure how, but I believe the first step might not be to convince people about why the EV you drive is "better" - people will tune that out, because as a Tesla driver they believe you're a possibly overly rich obnoxious know-it-all telling them how to live. Instead, I think truly convincing people will involve telling them the truth about how much a Model 3 costs. That you charge at home, and don't buy gasoline anymore, ever. That your insurance costs about the same or less than when you used to drive an ICE car. That maintanance costs are few and far between, because they're designed much more simply.

The stakes couldn't be higher - we have to learn from what happened to the Segway. Otherwise our next car purchase - or perhaps the one after that - where we were promised an all-EV future of vehicles to choose from, might dwindle back down to just one or two choices, and we still might be the possibly rich know-it-all jerks who buy them, instead of simply being another car buyer among a sea of EV choices.
 
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#2
Anyone remember the Segway? Invented by Dean Kamen, he proclaimed that it would change the way people move around cities forever.

Sadly, the public perception attached to the Segway as being an awkward, dorky, expensive toy for the rich and police departments doomed not only the company, but the entire sector of similar devices, to near oblivion (mass market simpler "hoverboard" replacements came along, but still never really changed transport).

Where that's concerning to us is, EV's in general have a reputation of being cars for people who think they know better than everyone else, who like to pretend that are trendy or cool, but actually come off as jerks or dorks who are met with scorn from everyone else. EV's are not thought of as serious tools to save money and stress, and help with personal budgeting and planning, with less variability due to fuel and maintenance costs. They are not thought of as a serious move to give us all stability, energy independence, and less pollution.

That reputation has to change. I'm not sure how, but I believe the first step might not be to convince people about why the EV you drive is "better" - people will tune that out, because as a Tesla driver they believe you're a possibly overly rich obnoxious know-it-all telling them how to live. Instead, I think truly convincing people will involve telling them the truth about how much a Model 3 costs. That you charge at home, and don't buy gasoline anymore, ever. That your insurance costs about the same or less than when you used to drive an ICE car. That maintanance costs are few and far between, because they're designed much more simply.

The stakes couldn't be higher - we have to learn from what happened to the Segway. Otherwise our next car purchase - or perhaps the one after that - where we were promised an all-EV future of vehicles to choose from, might dwindle back down to just one or two choices, and we still might be the possibly rich know-it-all jerks who buy them, instead of simply being another car buyer among a sea of EV choices.
I think you might be a bit pessimistic about our friends, the public. I have a Model X and have been received rather well. All those which I have taken for a ride came away impressed with the car and do not
seem to be negative on it or me. I am in the process of taking all 100+ members of my accounting firm for a Tesla Training Trip and lunch. This has been very well received and I have received many positive
comments about the car. I believe we are at a tipping point in this country concerning EV acceptance and look forward to increased understanding and interest in EV's.
 

FogNoggin

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#3
Where that's concerning to us is, EV's in general have a reputation of being cars for people who think they know better than everyone else, who like to pretend that are trendy or cool,
I try to be humble and downplay the awesomeness of my car by stating that it's just a car, a car that happens to be very different than most. I do find that I'm put on the defensive because EVERYONE assumes it costs more than it did. I always pull out the "it costs as much as a Camry" analogy.
 

Mr. Spacely

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#4
I think most of us have convinced a few folks at a time as they see and ride in our cars. They all won't go out and buy one today, but when the time is right they will at least consider a Tesla or some other EV. Personally I did not buy it to save the planet or because it was electric. I bought it for the performance and the self driving features which will only get better...
 
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SoFlaModel3

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#5
There is definitely an education gap when I talk to colleagues and friends...
  • But they're more expensive
  • But they charge slow
  • But you can't go on road trips
  • But they catch on fire
  • and on and on
 

MelindaV

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#6
Where that's concerning to us is, EV's in general have a reputation of being cars for people who think they know better than everyone else, who like to pretend that are trendy or cool, but actually come off as jerks or dorks who are met with scorn from everyone else.
maybe this is regional, but on the west coast, I dont get this vibe from non-EV people at all.
 

JasonF

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#7
maybe this is regional, but on the west coast, I dont get this vibe from non-EV people at all.
I don't see a lot of anti-EV sentiment here locally. Here in Florida, as of 3 months ago, there are Model 3's everywhere. They aren't quite as overwhelming as on the West Coast, but about as common as Mitsubishis. And I've never been confronted directly.

However, I do still see a lot of the negative stuff persisting online. I can see a lot of the people who bought Model 3's perhaps liking the car, but at next car purchasing time feel peer-pressured into buying a gasoline powered SUV again because their friends and family members mocked them for buying an EV.

So I guess that inspired me to think about how to reach the people who are either spreading false info, or have heard it often enough that they think it's absolutely true. They've heard all of the arguments about EV's being good for the environment, reducing pollution and noise, etc., and by now they have counter-arguments prepared for all of that. If we want EV's to move beyond a niche, those are the people that need convincing.

The biggest conversational turnaround I ever experienced about my car was when someone used the argument on me about constantly having to plug in and wait. I told him I just plug in at home during the night "just like a cell phone", and go everywhere I need to go. "Don't you run out of charge?" "No, hasn't happened yet." From that point he switched to asking questions about the price and how much it costs to insure. I believe a lot of people like that just need to know "on the ground" facts about how it benefits or helps them (if they're willing to listen - closed-minded people are out of reach).
 

NR4P

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#8
The only objections I hear where people dig in is when they say EV's are no better than gas cars cuz the power grid uses fossil fuel too. They dig in that.
No reasoning with them on renewables, nuclear, even natural gas is better than ICE with gasoline.

They have been brainwashed so no need to argue.

As more EVs get produced the sentiment will change.
 

Frully

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#9
Anyone remember the Segway? Invented by Dean Kamen, he proclaimed that it would change the way people move around cities forever.

Sadly, the public perception attached to the Segway as being an awkward, dorky, expensive toy for the rich and police departments doomed not only the company, but the entire sector of similar devices, to near oblivion (mass market simpler "hoverboard" replacements came along, but still never really changed transport).

Where that's concerning to us is, EV's in general have a reputation of being cars for people who think they know better than everyone else, who like to pretend that are trendy or cool, but actually come off as jerks or dorks who are met with scorn from everyone else. EV's are not thought of as serious tools to save money and stress, and help with personal budgeting and planning, with less variability due to fuel and maintenance costs. They are not thought of as a serious move to give us all stability, energy independence, and less pollution.

That reputation has to change. I'm not sure how, but I believe the first step might not be to convince people about why the EV you drive is "better" - people will tune that out, because as a Tesla driver they believe you're a possibly overly rich obnoxious know-it-all telling them how to live. Instead, I think truly convincing people will involve telling them the truth about how much a Model 3 costs. That you charge at home, and don't buy gasoline anymore, ever. That your insurance costs about the same or less than when you used to drive an ICE car. That maintanance costs are few and far between, because they're designed much more simply.

The stakes couldn't be higher - we have to learn from what happened to the Segway. Otherwise our next car purchase - or perhaps the one after that - where we were promised an all-EV future of vehicles to choose from, might dwindle back down to just one or two choices, and we still might be the possibly rich know-it-all jerks who buy them, instead of simply being another car buyer among a sea of EV choices.
Behind me just now at the cubicle farm: My colleagues were saying how now, october 2019, the big companies are finally making EVs to 'beat tesla' much cheaper since they have more factories...etc. "yea, I would buy one if it was 20 grand cheaper". How little they know.
 

tencate

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#10
When I hear someone repeating "falsehoods" about EVs, if I can I'll simply ask them if they've ever driven one. If they haven't (and that's usually the case) I ask if they'd like to drive mine and I'll press them a bit if they hesitate. Why? Once in the driver's seat, they suddenly "get it" and start asking all kinds of good questions. That's your cue and you get to correct all the wrong impressions they've heard or read about. Always works. At least around here :) if your insurance allows it, let people drive your car. It's the best way to be sure that EVs rise above the FUD headlines that people see in my humble opinion.
 

SoFlaModel3

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#11
Behind me just now at the cubicle farm: My colleagues were saying how now, october 2019, the big companies are finally making EVs to 'beat tesla' much cheaper since they have more factories...etc. "yea, I would buy one if it was 20 grand cheaper". How little they know.
It’s funny they probably say that while subsequently driving $30-40k cars though right?
 

John

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#12
There's this thing that happens called "an emergent phenomenon."

Something ends up happening due to a variety of actions and conditions along the way, kind of like a pachinko ball finally ending up in slot due to all of the pegs and other balls that it bounces off of on the way down.

So many things in life are emergent—like someone getting famous, or a fashion catching on. There's no "recipe" for recreating emergent phenomena, though people like to analyze them after the fact and try to simplify the explanation. "Oh, she became a famous actress because she was in that hit movie." That ignores the many actresses who appeared in hit movies and never became a big star. "He became rich because he was a founder of eBay, the first online auction site." Except it was actually the 500th online auction site.

Tesla has emerged as a popular punching bag for a number of reasons, some of them due to timing and other things going on in society.
  • Teslas used to be too expensive for the vast majority of people, and rich people and their expensive cars have always been fair game for insult by everyone else
  • Most people still can't afford $40K to buy a bare-bones Tesla
  • Some people feel bullied by environmental activists and their insinuations that other people need to change their behavior
  • Elon is a billionaire, and those are fair game, too
  • Elon's talk of Mars sounds zany to most people
  • The press likes bad news, because it gets viewers and clicks (this dates back to the first forms of press, it's not recent)
  • Oil producers' livelihoods threatened (1.4 million people in the just the US alone)
  • Auto makers' livelihoods threatened (1.7 million people in just the US alone)
  • Tesla doesn't spend money that might make tend to make business allies among the media
  • People don't trust the idea of self-driving cars (very few have experienced the reality of AP, either)
  • For some people, nothing good has ever come out of Silicon Valley ("high tech is a blight on family life, and privacy, and it's killing traditional jobs")
So Tesla emerged as a popular target of ridicule. Lots of things contributed to it, and it could have turned out a different way in a different time, but it is what it is. Here we are.

As for Segway, sorry—that's not a misunderstanding. Paul Blart (Mall Cop) did not kill the Segway. The Segway killed the Segway. It is what it is: the world's most perfect vehicle for stripping a human being of their dignity. There is literally no way to look cool on a Segway.

Scooters: you're next.
 

garsh

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#14
The only objections I hear where people dig in is when they say EV's are no better than gas cars cuz the power grid uses fossil fuel too. They dig in that.
I've found a very easy way to quickly get those particular people on my side. :cool:

Just tell them that your vehicle supports West Virginia coal miners, while their vehicle supports Saudi Arabia oil Sheikhs. This will resonate with them. ;)
 

JasonF

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#16
There's this thing that happens called "an emergent phenomenon.".
And this thread is focused on keeping emergent phenomenon from killing the future of EV's, because that's really all it takes sometimes.

I used the Segway as an example not to compare device to device (although both are electric), but to point out how little it takes to kill off a product with a lot of potential but a bad reputation. Certainly Segway didn't really do a lot to change its image through better design - but remember, there is a lot of money behind discrediting EV's from oil companies and even some manufacturers who want to keep chugging along with ICE vehicles.

I do see EV's getting a really good foothold and starting to establish themselves, but I feel this is a critical time between EV's disappearing as a fashion fad in a few years or becoming a permanent fixture.
 

iChris93

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#17
I feel this is a critical time between EV's disappearing as a fashion fad in a few years or becoming a permanent fixture.
Remember, many governments are backing a move to EVs and will require cleaner cars as time goes on.
 

FRC

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#18
And this thread is focused on keeping emergent phenomenon from killing the future of EV's, because that's really all it takes sometimes.

I used the Segway as an example not to compare device to device (although both are electric), but to point out how little it takes to kill off a product with a lot of potential but a bad reputation. Certainly Segway didn't really do a lot to change its image through better design - but remember, there is a lot of money behind discrediting EV's from oil companies and even some manufacturers who want to keep chugging along with ICE vehicles.

I do see EV's getting a really good foothold and starting to establish themselves, but I feel this is a critical time between EV's disappearing as a fashion fad in a few years or becoming a permanent fixture.
Ev's are here to stay. Tesla could fail, but absent egregious governmental interference EV's will proliferate.
 

Dr. J

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#19
So I guess that inspired me to think about how to reach the people who are either spreading false info, or have heard it often enough that they think it's absolutely true. They've heard all of the arguments about EV's being good for the environment, reducing pollution and noise, etc., and by now they have counter-arguments prepared for all of that. If we want EV's to move beyond a niche, those are the people that need convincing.
Have you noticed our entire culture is this way? You can't reason with some people [mod edit: removed political content]. However, I'm certain EVs will ultimately displace ICEVs because: money. TCO of EVs is already competitive, and in short order as battery technology improvements become widespread, EVs will be more than competitive without incentives.

"Ginger" was a dork from the get go and never lived up to her hype. Not true with cool Tesla. With the Model 3, there's no going back and no salvaging ICEVs in the long run. I'm just waiting for some municipality to wake up and recognize the TCO equation, then put Model 3s everywhere in the fleet.
 
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Dr. J

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#20
I've found a very easy way to quickly get those particular people on my side. :cool:

Just tell them that your vehicle supports West Virginia coal miners, while their vehicle supports Saudi Arabia oil Sheikhs. This will resonate with them. ;)
Fighting bullsh** with bullsh**. Intriguing....
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