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What's Needed to Make America Electric Car-Friendly

Mike Calise lists the steps carmakers need to take to the United States 'A Country Of Electric Vehicles.'

Published: 16-Nov-2012

Will electric vehicles reach mass adoption in the U.S.? When and how? What should come first, the manufacturing of more EVs or the installation of the EV charging infrastructure? These are questions that have occupied many people’s minds and many newspaper headlines in recent years.

To begin to really answer those questions, we must look to the concept of disruptive innovation. A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and eventually goes on to displace an existing market, or targets the existing market by picking off the least satisfied customers. Disruptive innovations typically describe technologies or business models that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, first by designing for a different set of parameters or customers and, later, by competing in the existing market, thereby displacing the established product or service over time.

The most well-known historic example of disruptive innovation is also about cars: when the Ford Model T reached mass production and eventually went on to displace the horse-drawn carriage. More modern examples are how e-commerce sites have disrupted brick and mortar bookstores and travel agencies, and how downloadable music has replaced CDs and players. Even right now, the e-book is starting to replace the physical book.

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