Thursday, May 28, 2015

Self-maintenance: The Future of Car-repair?

There exist two competing tendencies in modern society: individualism, and specialization. These can be understood as two elements to an overall trend toward atomization. Nevertheless, the first asks us to avoid being dependent on others while the second makes dependence practically necessary.

Products which offer increased independence are marketable in this environment. Tools which offer to simplify your life are one example, and the most predominant, but others are possible.

Consider the automobile: it was first made popular as a symbol of independence and freedom. The car has now lost much of that aura. It may be there for some, particularly teenagers, and it does offer the same increased mobility as ever, but it has become commonplace. Imagine, then, simplifying the aspect of life related to owning a car. What would this look like? IKEA cars--cars built for home maintenance. Constructing the car so that all of its components are as easily accessible as possible, and as resilient as feasible.

Would this sell? Probably. Would it be profitable? I think it could be, if done right. each component should be made as independent of other components as possible, and should be sold to the common car owner. Instead of designing a new car each year, the manufacturer may then produce upgraded versions of the various components. A car owner may then buy a single component, or a whole new car, or anything in between, as he can afford. I suspect, done right, some people would spend more on car parts than they now do (keeping in mind that they should not have to spend much, if anything, on man-hours to install those parts), thus making more money for the manufacturer.

This could also speed the acceptance of electric cars if the car were built as an electrical car. This would make sense, because that would reduce the number of fluids that would need to be moved around the whole vehicle. The challenges which generally face electric cars would remain, but the benefits of not needing to spend as much money (and unusable car-hours) on maintaining the car could help overcome those.

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