2011 is being hailed as the year that electric cars finally (re)emerge as a contender for the hearts, minds, and increasingly tight pocketbooks of consumers. Electric vehicles, at least initially, will require people to behave differently, having to find or create their own way to charge it rather then depend on gas stations being ever present as they are now.
Given this, people’s driving habits, whether it’s the length of commute or how fast they drive, will be reshaped. Who drives electric cars first will be much different then early adopters of previous generations of petroleum based vehicles.
So it makes sense that vehicle sales will also occur outside the usual places you’d expect.
For example in Japan, Mitsubishi recently partnered with appliance store Yamada Denki to sell its i-MiEV electric car. While this may at first glance seem an unusual move, think about it: Where are people looking for the most energy efficient devices, where are they eager to learn how to make their homes more sustainable? Who’s seeking the best, latest, most interesting things to show off to their friends and neighbors? And where do they intersect? Appliance stores.
Inclusion of electric vehicles in the store offerings dovetails nicely with Yamada Denki’s desire to be a “smart home” provider, selling solar systems, car charging stations and the like. It’s the realization of the long talked about energy independent household.
While here in the US, consumer electronics store Best Buy has been selling electric bicycles since last year, car companies would do well to pay attention to how Mitsubishi’s initiative works, as it’s an even more logical integration, making the leap to EVs easier for US consumers.
Readers: How, who, and where are you seeing the effective preparation for the coming wave of electric vehicles?
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing.