How come we see all those electric cars on TV all the time, but never on the streets? In 1899 already, an electric prototype clocked more than 100 kilometres per hour. In comparison: gasoline cars at that time puffed along at 25 kilometres per hour. Could waking up to reality be an option that’s just too expensive for car makers?
Question: how would you get the electric car going in the right gear? First you need a target market. Norway maybe? Really hip country, lots of purchasing power, all eyes fixed in the same progressive direction. Mmh. But the ecological advantages of an electric car will only be very small if you limit yourself to a few trendy Norwegians. Maybe India is better? Huge population, a booming economy, and lots of pollution. The impact of an eco-friendly car should be a lot greater in India.
Let’s take a look at the price of an electric car. A competitive price is always good for a new product, isn’t it? Imagine selling the car for only € 9,999. Peanuts, huh? Well, maybe for a Flemish family. Unfortunately, the median monthly income in India is only about € 300. That’s not enough for a car. So, back to rickshaw riding.
But suppose now that we change the business model. If we can convince companies in India of the usefulness of an electric car, could they maybe help finance it? The companies would then give the cars as an incentive to their employees.
For carpooling, because that is better for the environment. The cars will be shared on top of that. So they’ll only be driven by those who really need them and only when it’s really necessary.
Got something there, don’t you think? That’s what GROUP T students think too. They have been working really hard for several years to put their electric car on the market in a sensible way. In the meantime, the VDS-project (Vehicle Design Summit) has been hurrying along quite nicely. The VDS-car will be launched in China, India and Russia within the near future. Where the economies are going into overdrive and where millions will soon be buying their first car. For them our VDS-car is an eco-friendly and affordable car. And that’s the only way that the economic game of catch up on the other side of the world can take place without petrol fumes and particulate matter.
This is a great example of what we at GROUP T call Beyond Engineering: the art of approaching things as part of an entire ecosystem and not simply from one angle. And above all: the art of finding solutions that don’t create new problems, but make a real difference. It is a vision of the engineer that that reaches far beyond the edge of the drafting board.