What started out as a light hearted texting among the Agents took on a new meaning to yours truly last night. 

The conversation started something like, what would happen if you parked your SUV in spot reserved for an EV?  If people asked, you could simply say it was a Tesla or possibly a next generation EV.  Would the average consumer even know the difference? Could you BS your way through it if questioned?

The sad fact is that when I was just a young boy my dad could tell you every detail about his new Chevelle SS, from the 396 big block motor, to the turbo 400 transmission back to the 12 bolt main differential. He could even explain to anyone the reason why there was power bulge on the hood. 0-60 and ¼ mile times were always the topic.  The man was knowledgeable about what he drove.  Frankly people in general USED to know what they drove.

Move forward more decades than I would care to mention and the average consumer can’t even tell you what is under the hood much less the type of car he just bought.  Why do I say that?  For the answer you may need to look no further that your local IKEA for a lesson in how clueless we have become.. 

IKEA? That flat box furniture store? Really?

Before you scoff at this notion, let me explain.

It didn’t take long to notice that when the first IKEA opened in the north Texas area the prime upfront spots belonged to the EV drivers complete with charging stations.  Actually a pretty noble stab at encouraging the “green ethic” and reinforces the environmental conservation values the brand is well known for worldwide. 

But how did it work out?

After just a year I noticed the charging stations were gone and the same spaces were now designated for hybrids.  I asked around, and reality of the situation was that there were so few EV vehicles in the area that the hybrid owners were taking advantage of the EV parking instead.  After all, isn’t it all the same? So the decision was made to pass on the green spots to the hybrids since they are also eco friendly. Sounds great in concept but this spreads that tree hugging love across a much bigger segment which may be a bigger problem

By now Pandora’s box was opened, and rather than a sea of Nissan Leafs and Prius basking in the sun side by side as would be expected.  These same parking spots were quickly filled with hybrid Escalades and Tahoes instead. 

Yes it all went from gas sippers to monstrous “Hybrid” land yachts in the blink of an eye.

Of course now that the potential vehicles allowed has expanded, you open it up to the masses.. you know the ones that have no clue what they drive and situation is again changing.  Now these same spots once reserved for those with a higher calling are being replaced by various models sporting Diesel, EcoBoost, Bluetec, various eco badges that have nothing to do with the original intent or the true nature how green they really are.  After all that Tahoe looks like mine sitting there and it has a Flex Fuel badge on it, so what is the difference? (BTW, doesn’t bluetooth mean something green too?)

Now you have to wonder if reality will finally set in and the retailer would consider removing  the spots all together. Why?  Because the average consumer has no clue what they drive these day or how well it works.  All they really know is it has a green or blue badge on the trunk lid and buy into the buzz that automaker gave them.  This is actually upsetting some customers that really do the research and are making an attempt to minimize their carbon footprint.  So much so, that the retailer could be close to throwing in the towel on the concept and giving into the minions that simply know no better.

Is it good business to keep upsetting existing customers tantalizing prime spots that are filled with posers?

Is this right, or wrong or just a sign of the times?



EcoBoost, Hybrid, BlueTec Oh My, Why Don’t People Actually Know What They Drive?

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