What is the best way to educate people about LEVs, especially since the publics’ awareness is nearly “zero”?
Light Electric Vehicles is a broad term. It includes one, two, and three wheelers, with a wide range of configurations and uses. But the most common vehicle at this time is an electric bike.
And it is true that most Americans have only a minimal awareness of electric bikes.
When people ask me “what needs to happen for Americans to be aware of electric bikes?”, my answer is “We don’t need to do anything.”
Let me explain that:
I think most readers have had the experience of reading their local newspaper. And a few will be, like me, people who rarely read the whole paper, but have a pretty good idea where to find articles or advertisements in the paper – should we be interested in them.
I never read the sports pages. (Yes, I know that makes me weird.) Unless….my car needs new tires. When I feel a need for tires, I am keenly interested in the tire advertisements found in the sports pages, and I will look at every page and consider the merits of each offer. Another example is that I never noticed LifeLock adverts on line (in hindsight, how did I miss them?) until a friend had his identity stolen and I started to regard this as a threat to me.
The nature of people is to have minimal interest in things or events that they think have no application to them – but the moment they see an application or effect on themselves, they are very interested and learn a lot, very fast.
America is changing in many fundamental ways. One of those changes is that the price we pay for energy is climbing rapidly and will continue to do so. Another change is that we are much less wealthy than we used to be. Another change is that we are living closer together, in denser cities – leading to traffic congestion and parking shortages.
We are driving less, buying fewer cars, and that is such a huge change in American behavior that when I predicted it 10 years ago I was laughed at.
The electric powered personal transport, usually a two-wheeler, is one of the basic tools for living in the America that is coming to be. It is cheap, clean, needs no petrol, easy to park, and can go around or through the traffic jam.
As Americans look for ways to adapt to this changing world, the LEV is going to be one of the tools to make that adaptation.
My belief is that the American garage of the future will hold a selection of transportation tools, rather than the “use it for everything” car.
A car will be in most garages. But it will be used with thought. The longest commute, the family member who has to wear a suit, or weather will determine who uses it. The idea of driving the car a few blocks will, once again, be regarded as wasteful and silly.
As Americans did previous to the 1960’s, there will be one car per family, kids will ride a bike, walk, or ride a bus to school / friend’s house / dojo / music lessons / gymnastics / mall. Adults will coordinate and cooperate in the use of the one car for trips to work, shopping, vacations.
Add to this the use of electric bikes and scooters to go to the store, friends, bus stop, metro station, as well. Fast, easy, no sweat, and cheap to own and operate.
The interest will come, no matter what the industry does. Demographics, macro economics and energy prices will do it all for us.
Article By: Edward Benjamin
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