The American public imagination is steeped in images of cars. Long ago, the car took over for the horse as the best romantic vehicle to ride off into the sunset. Pop culture throughout the existence of the car is riddled with references to it. Just as Ford's assembly line was developed, Charlie Chaplin was there to lampoon it in the 1936 film Modern Times [Wollen and Kerr, 2002]. In the fifties, the car was a symbol of a post-depression, post-war need for carefree freedom: characters like Fonzie in Happy Days showed that the cool guys, the ones who got the girls, always had the best cars. In 1965, Roger Miller wrote King of the Road, a song about a man who felt like a king despite his hand-to-mouth existence because he had a car, and that made him free. The song made number one on the Billboard charts.
Even when cars went wrong, they were a vehicle for rugged, rebellious adventurism, for striking out on one's own: James Dean's death, caused by crashing his Porsche 555 Spyder into another car, served as a fittingly romantic end to his short life as a symbol of youthful rebellion in the pop culture world [Wollen and Kerr 2002.]
[...] The first try: A brief history of the electric car In 1990, the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate passed in the state of California, setting strict standards for how badly new vehicles could pollute the air. In response, General Motors began manufacturing the EV1, a zero-emission, battery powered vehicle which could be recharged either in owner's garages or at charging stations [Paine, 2006]. The company decided that the costs of manufacturing and advertising a new sort of vehicle would make it impossible for them to turn a profit on the EV1 in the six months after their release, and that it would in fact be cheaper in the short run to sue the state of California to repeal or relax its mandate than it would be to produce the cars. [...]
[...] New York, NY: Palgrave. Garber, M. (2000). Symptoms of Culture. Routledge. Greer, J. & Bruno, K. (1996). Greenwash: The Reality Behind Corporate Environmentalism. Penang, Malaysia: Third World Network. Harrington, C. L. & Bielby, D. D. (Eds.). (2001). Popular Culture: Production and Consumption Malden, Mass. Blackwell Publishers. Heffner, R. R., Kurani, K. S. & Turrentine, T. S. Symbolism In Early Markets For Hybrid Electric Vehicles. [...]
[...] The HEV as a cultural object Hybrid Electric Vehicles were born a political compromise, and they'll die a political compromise. Made to choose between electricity and gasoline, between ecology and the open road, American consumers chose both. While a committed fringe minority of environmentalists soup up their cars with homemade biodiesel engines, a more numerous, and therefore more powerful, group of consumers buy a “green vague” blank slate on wheels and assign it whatever meaning suits them. Fig 1 Fig 2 Fig 3 Bibliography Chasin, A. [...]
[...] Richard and Diane Hall, upper-class professionals in their forties, chose the Prius over other HEV models because it was aesthetically easier to identify as a hybrid than the Honda versions. Their reasons for buying a hybrid were mostly environmental, and they identified the car as fitting in with an informed, up-to-date “lifestyle” they'd consciously begun to adopt a few years before. Richard liked the technology of the car and the attention it attracted with its design and quietness, though he was used to driving European luxury vehicles with muscle. [...]
[...] Davis, CA: Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California at Davis p. Holt, D. (2000). The Consumer Society Reader. In (D. B. Holt & J. Schor, Eds.). New Press. Karliner, J. & Bruno, K. (2003). earthsummit.biz: The Corporate Takeover of Sustainable Development. Oakland, Calif: Food First Books. Liker, J. K. (2003). Toyota way: 14 management principles from the world's greatest manufacturer. Cincinatti, OH: McGraw-Hill. Naughton, K. (2007, [...]
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