A relevant social group is a group of people who share the same set of meanings, or feelings, attached to a specific artifact. In this case, it is all groups of people who feel the same way about the electric car. There are many relevant social groups involved with the electric car. They include General Motors, the consumers/drivers/fans of the EV1, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the federal government, Ovonics (battery company), and the oil companies. General motors is a relevant social group because they are the ones who manufactured and sold the EV1.
They originally decided to abide by the state’s law about selling a certain percentage of electric vehicles, but soon after decided to face the consequences of not selling them. They installed poor quality batteries in order to deter consumers even more and argued that they could not make money off of the electric vehicle. GM did not properly, if at all, advertise for their electric vehicle, and when consumers came to them regarding the electric vehicle, the limitations of this vehicle were exaggerated in order to deter them from purchasing or leasing.
General Motors took back all EV1s after their leases were up, not allowing the leasee to renew their lease, and crushed all of the remaining EV1s. The consumers, or fans of the EV1 are a very important relevant social group. This group drove the EV1 and did not want to see it go. They investigated where they were taken and tried to buy them back. They reached out to General Motors in the hopes of saving the EV1, however they were unsuccessful. The oil companies are another major relevant social group. They knew that they would lose a lot of money if people decided to switch over to the electric vehicle.
This is why they decided to kill the electric car before it took off. 2 The government, in partner with the oil companies, sued the state of California in order to overturn the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate. Also partnering with the oil companies, the government “put forward hydrogen fuel cells as a better alternative to gas and battery electric cars. ”1 The California Air Resources Board (CARB) knew that by introducing the electric vehicle that they would be able to solve their air quality problem caused by vehicle emissions. Thus, they introduced the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate.
Alan Lloyd, chairman of the CARB until 2004, played a major role in having the mandate less restrictive and gave in to unproven hydrogen fuel cell technology. This is what may have caused the death of the electric car. Ovonics created a battery that would allow the EV1 to go twice the distance that they were currently able to do. However, they were suppressed from announcing these better batteries by General Motors. They then sold the supplier’s majority share to another company. The group of people who introduced the hydrogen fuel cell and the idea of the fuel cell car are also a relevant social group.
They introduced a new idea in order to take the attention away from the EV1. 2. Interpretive flexibility is the fact that different social groups can influence the development of the technology by the meaning that it has to them personally. The car companies, General Motors in particular, interpreted the EV1 as a vehicle that was of no use to them because they could not make money off of it. By introducing the EV1 they would lose out on profits made on the regular vehicles because there would be no regular tune ups, oil changes, and less brake jobs. They did 1 IMDb. IMDb. com, 2013.
Web. 02 Mar. 2015. <http://www. imdb. com/title/tt0489037/synopsis>. 3 not want the EV1 to evolve and become the car that everyone drives. GM decided to only lease out these vehicles and sabotaged their own car selling program in order to get out of having to provide the electric vehicle option. This in turn could have been the cause, or one of the causes of the death of the electric car. The consumer or fans of the EV1 saw it as a great car to drive and really liked the look of the car. They also liked how it was environmentally friendly without being a burden to charge or buy.
Ultimately, consumers were excited about the EV1 and wanted to see them succeed. In contrast however, there were many consumers who were unaware of the EV1 and/or did not have enough information regarding these new vehicles. This could have made the difference in keeping the electric vehicle alive; if everyone had been made aware of this vehicle, it may have had a larger demand, and may be prominently driven on our roads today.
This interpretation was similar from the stand point of CARB. They saw it as a way to solve their air quality problem and to better the state for future generations. However, Alan Lloyd of CARB, interpreted it slightly differently because of his biased opinion (became the Director of the California Fuel Cell Partnership). 2 He, along with the oil companies, saw it as a loss of profits because if people started to only drive the EV1, then they would not need oil as much or as often.
The EV1 was not a good thing to the oil companies and they did not want it to succeed. Oil companies even went as far as manipulating oil prices in order to deter consumers from switching to oil alternatives. Ultimately, this may be the main reason, combined with others, as to why the electric car died.
2 “Who Killed the Electric Car? ” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n. d. Web. 03 Mar. 2015. <HTTP://EN. WIKIPEDIA. ORG/WIKI/WHO_KILLED_THE_ELECTRIC_CAR%3F>. 4 Like the oil companies, the government did not want the EV1 to succeed since oil is a multi-billion dollar industry. They would also lose money if the oil companies did not sell as much. Therefore, they fought to weaken the mandate in California or to eliminate it completely. They also offered huge tax breaks for consumers who purchased SUVs in order to deter them away from the electric vehicle. This can be seen as another cause of the death of the electric car.
Ovonics created a battery that would solve one of the main issues surrounding the electric vehicle, the driving range possible per charge. This company clearly wanted to make money and to see the EV1 to succeed in order to make money by installing their battery in this vehicle. However, they were unaware of General Motor’s intentions and unintentionally sold all rights to the battery to General Motors, who did not advertise or use the new, stronger battery. If this company had had the chance to advertise their new battery and have it put into the EV1, the car would most likely be much more popular, and still alive.
The EV1 may also have had the chance to evolve further because of the technology of this new battery and the continuous research to follow. The group of people who introduced the idea of the fuel cell car powered by hydrogen and made with electricity had an impact on the outcome of the electric car. This idea for a vehicle was announced in order to take away from the attention in which the electric vehicle was receiving. This concept was entirely made as a distraction, as it was not realistic; this is because it required a greater amount of energy than the electric vehicle, and it did not have the same range.
This was yet another concept created to kill the electric car. 3. 5 A technological frame is when the meaning attributed to an artifact by members of a relevant social group is negotiated and discussed. This consists of goals, problems, problem solving strategies, solutions, etc. It also structures the interactions among the members of the relevant social groups. 3 Consumers found that a major problem was that the EV1 did not go long distances. This made it unappealing to some people who would travel for work or not want to be worried about charging their vehicle every 30 miles that they drove.
They also found that car dealers were not advertising or upselling the electric vehicle which may have caused them to not want to buy the car. However, they also saw it as a greener solution to their current gas emission cars. Which is why so many consumers leased the EV1. Consumers made it their goal to save the EV1 and put a big fight in trying to get back the cars that still remained. Car companies, specifically General Motors, found that this technology would not make them much profit, which is a huge problem.
They stated, that due to all the research and development that had to go into each vehicle, they would not be able to make money off of it. However, this was a lie. The reason that they did not want to sell the EV1 was because they would lose profits on things such as general tune ups, oil changes, and break jobs. They made it their goal to get out of the mandate that required they offer these vehicles and to go back to gas fun cars only. All of these things were not needed or done much less frequently with the electric vehicle.
The oil companies’ problem with the EV1 or any electric vehicle for that matter, was the fact that if it really caught on and became predominantly driven on our roads, they would lose a LOT of money. It is obvious why, the more electric cars that are on the road, the less gas 3 POWERPOINT SLIDES – PROFESSOR LAROSE 6 guzzling cars are, and therefore they would lose a major consumer of oil. Therefore, they made it their goal to get rid of the electric vehicle before it really got going. The government also saw that they would lose money from the electric car being driven more frequently by more drivers. They then made it their goal to get rid of the mandate and ultimately the electric vehicle.
In order to achieve this goal, they sued the state of California and gave huge tax breaks to those who bought and drove SUVs. CARB began with making it their goal to improve the air quality in the state of California. They saw the EV1 as a solution to their air quality problem. This is why they introduced the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate. The EV1 was the perfect solution to their problem and made them look like they were making a difference in the state of California. In contrast, one member of CARB saw it as a loss to the oil industry and therefore fought to have the mandate revoked.
Ovonics, the battery company, saw the EV1 as having a problem, not a far enough driving range. This is why they made it their goal to come up with a solution, the stronger battery with a farther driving range. This solved the problems that consumers faced when deciding which vehicle to purchase. By providing a battery that allowed the EV1 to go up to 300 miles per charge, consumers would want to buy the vehicle right away. The fuel cell group thought that they could solve everyone’s problems by introducing a vehicle that ran on both fuel and electricity. They made it their goal to distract from the EV1.
This made is appealing to the oil companies, the government, and General Motors. However, experts knew that this type of vehicle was impossible to have and was not realistic or comparable to the EV1. It was merely a distraction from the EV1. 7 4. This documentary is reminding us about the concept of closure regarding the fact that it is not permanent. As new social groups form, interpretive flexibility is reintroduced. This can cause a new round of problems with the technology. 4 This can be clearly seen in the timeline of this documentary. Back in the day, when cars were invented, they were seen as the greener option to horse and buggy.
However, as technology changes, cars have become the main cause of many environmental issues. Therefore, we are looking to make a greener option to gas run vehicles, hence the electric vehicle. Even once we have found a solution to this current problem, it is evident that other problems may arise in the future in which we will be back to stage 1, with new relevant social groups and new interpretive flexibilities. 4 “Who Killed the Electric Car? ” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n. d. Web. 03 Mar. 2015. <HTTP://EN. WIKIPEDIA. ORG/WIKI/WHO_KILLED_THE_ELECTRIC_CAR%3F>.
Soc 3116 Mid Essay
1990 WordsNov 19th, 20158 Pages
SOC 3116 B Technologies, World and Societies (Fall 2015)
Professor: Stephan Larose
Who Killed the Electric Car?
Student Number: 7487677
1. A) What is a relevant social Group?
A relevant social group is a group of people who play a role in the development of an artifact. It is a group that share common meaning to the specific artifact. (September 25th Lecture)
B) What are the relevant social groups involved in the story told by the documentary?
1. Car Manufactures
2. Oil Companies
4. Consumer/ EV1 Owners
5. California Air Resource Board (CARB)
2. A) What is interpretive flexibility?
The meaning of interpretive flexibility is various groups of peopled involved…show more content…
Initially the EV1 had many positive benefits to the state. * Non-users are the group of people that did not use the EV1 artifact. The EV1 was a vehicle that they chose not to drive for personal reasons.
3. A) What is a technological frame?
The meaning of technological frame is the members of relevant social group’s negotiate the meaning of the artifact. Things like; problems, solutions, requirement, and problem solving strategies. (October 2nd Lecture) It structures the interactions among the members of the relevant social groups into a process. (October 2nd Lecture)
B) Identify the main (identifiable) elements of each relevant social group technological frame?
The main identifiable elements of each relevant social group’s technological frame were very evident in the documentary (Who Killed The Electric Car?) all information stated came from the video.. This will explain each by relevant social group, starting with the car manufactures. In 1996 electric cars began to appear on roads in California. The manufactures could see the need for the electric car. The air quality in California was becoming a very large issue and the car companies started to invent and test electric cars. GM started with the sun racer. In 1987 it won the solar power race. Alan Cocconi built the electric engine prototype that met all driving