Electric Cars – Better Place

Technological determinism on society goes back and forth depending on the field, the innovations and society itself but we should define certain parameters for this technological determinism to head us in the right direction. By back and forth I mean that a technological discovery sometimes determines society but on some others they do not, like unfortunately is the case of Better Place.

For some people electric cars mean saving the world and our future, for others it is just a hassle, both understandable. Although their timing to build their company’s infrastructure was definitely not a conservative strategy it had its purpose behind it. Now it is really easy to say that they should have built their stations slowly and by stages, if that would have been the case probably less people would have decided to change their gasoline fueled cars to electric cars due to the specific small amount of stations they could go to, therefore being uncomfortable and not very practical.

Now because of the “unlucky” bankruptcy of Better Place both investors and costumers have lost some faith on the electric car business. In the article “Why your car isn’t electric” by Maggie Koerth-Baker, she explains that this similar situation happened in the 1900’s when 34 percent of cars in New York, Chicago and Boston were powered by en electric motor. A series of flawed deals took the Electric Vehicle Company from being the largest carmaker in the United States to bankruptcy and brought the idea of electric cars down with them.

Governments and social institutions, like the media, should back up and give some reward to these kinds of projects even more now so that history does not repeat itself and we end up waiting another 100 years, which we might not have, for them to resurface. In cases like these, where the betterment of society is procured, is where these institutions should outline which innovations should be “required” for society, leaving no room for interpretative flexibility on behalf of the people. For the purpose of exampling what I mean I will exaggerate and say that governments could get to the point where they could ban combustion-powered cars.

It was not only a really hard and expensive lesson for Better Place to learn, that society might still not be ready for this positive and necessary change, but it should also be a lesson for society and each one of us, that even though a company undertook such an ambitious and beneficial venture for the betterment of the entire world and our future generations our lack of action wasted this opportunity.

We might have to learn the hard way too, if we don’t change our cars and stay with our gasoline cars in our “comfort zone”, we are only affecting ourselves and our descendants, and it won’t be Better Place the one paying the price this time.

References:

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7 thoughts on “Electric Cars – Better Place”

  1. This is interesting to me because I had not heard of that company. They were a little early! If they had held on they probably could have benefited when Tesla released all of their patents. Because of Tesla I think the electric car industry will be able to start getting big soon. Tesla is working on making cars that people who are not celebrities can afford, so that will be something to look forward too! Plus with the release of their patents there should be affordable options coming eventually. Have hope!

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  2. I enjoyed your take on this important yet somewhat overlooked issue. I agree with you when you said the government should do something to make electric cars more favorable, for example they could give tax cuts to electric car drivers, or even to gas station owners who open a charging station.

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  3. While i agree that there needs to be a change in the average person’s transportation habits and electric cars is a major step up, i couldn’t help but wonder what the drawbacks of the electric car movement would be. For instance, would trying to create and promote a wind or solar powered car be more beneficial? Obviously it would take more time for that process, but it was something that popped into my mind.

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  4. I love the new electric car movement and the potential that it has for our society and environment. Automobile emissions are a huge threat to human health, and the potential improvement in that area can decrease chronic diseases worldwide. However, I’m frustrated when looking at how the oil corporations have such an effect of legislation. Our interests in oil and our government’s ties to corporations seem to be holding us back, and I think it’s once again a way that our government isn’t working for the people, and isn’t representing the voters, rather they are representing the money.

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  5. It’s all about where our power is coming from. Electric cars are an attractive choice to so many people because it can be a fairly easy switch. But if you’re in a country, such as the US, which utilizes coal for the majority of it’s energy, it’s actually almost better for the environment if you drive a gas powered car. The majority of our waste comes from big corporations, not the individual, and if we want to “go green”, we need to change whole policies, and not our cars. Here’s a little article I read that has some interesting info on this topic.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/16/electric-cars-environment_n_6329186.html

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  6. As i saw in another comment, I like that you chose this company to blog about. I had also not heard about the company or it’s history either. I’m hopeful that we, as a country, can rid ourselves of our dependency on oil. I am interested in learning more about the reason why the company failed and the developments of new companies like Tesla.

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  7. I think the bankruptcy of Better Place shows some relations between politics and the new technologies like what Better Place owned, but I know there’s a successful example in this industry right now (I saw it in other comments. It’s Tesla Motors). When people think about Tesla, they may disagree with you. So I think the essay will be better if you talk more about the politics related to the bankruptcy of Better Place. I think you may want to talk more but you didn’t (I guess…). Overall, this essay is interesting and reminds of something more about why these electric cars are still far away from the mainstream customers.

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