The NY Times looks at the major considerations shaping the entire manufacturing process, from conception to production, in an effort to explain what they see as a missed opportunity for electric cars to redefine vehicle aesthetics from the ground up.

While the emergence of the electric vehicle as a new automotive category is radically changing many aspects of the automobile industry and consumer thinking around driving, why aren’t we seeing this shift translate into a revolution in automobile design? The NY Times looks at the major considerations shaping the entire manufacturing process, from conception to production, in an effort to explain what they see as a missed opportunity to redefine vehicle aesthetics from the ground up.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, costs are still the main culprit. In order to recoup the additional R&D needed to build in more environmentally friendly efficiencies, automakers often recycle parts from other vehicles in their fleets, essentially creating clones with a slightly greener sheen. Further along this road paved by the bottom line, the industry intentionally forgoes design innovation in an attempt to appeal to the widest audience. And while fear of failure is certainly the primary motivation for this “safe” approach, the concern is less about poor sales and more about understanding the real reasons behind the lack of interest. Which is to say, if you’re presenting the public with a radical departure on two fronts – in this case fuel type and aesthetics – and your product is a flop, then you better understand what you got wrong.

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