Electric Car essay

According to SCOT, a relevant social group is any of a number of groups that exist in a social setting and compete for complete control of technical design. Notably, with the introduction of a new product, one party would desire to outperform the other in terms of the technological path that the new artifact should pursue (Pinch & Bijker, 1987). Because each social group has a unique and different understanding of the problems that the new product is intended to answer, they will launch components and operational tenets that will allow them to outperform the others.thereby enabling one of them to have a technological design over others. On a similar note, Pinch and Bijker (1987, p. 30) affirms, “all members of a certain social group share the same set of meanings, attached to a specific artifact”.
Oil Companies
The emergence of the new technology, the EVI, was going to be a significant threat to the existence of the Oil Companies because EVI was to rely on the consumption of the Hydrogen Carbon for its operation. The shifting of the use of oil to that of hydrogen carbon would have had an adverse economic impact to the mentioned company. Owing this revelation, this company engages in unhealthy business practices to kill the electric vehicle technology (Pain, 2006). Notably, it worked hand in hand with the Western States Petroleum Association with the primary aim of financing campaigns to thwart the invaluable efforts meant to construct public car charging stations. It perceived the public car charging stations as a competitor since the EVI would have utilized the said stations in preference to the Oil Companies. Furthermore, Mobil and other oil companies openly advertised through the national publications against the usage if the electric cars.
General Motors
General Motors being a key player in the manufacturing of vehicles with the sole purpose of making profit became worried about the emergence of the new technology in the manufacturing sector. Ostensibly, the EVI were durable and only required less maintenance cost; this means the consumers of this product would deny the GMs the substantial profits in the long-run. In resolving this predicament, the firm failed to sell cars that would have met the needs and desire of its consumers; also, it adopted leasing strategy rather than selling directly to consumers (Pain, 2006). The above practice led to low demand for EVI which was the goal of GM.
The Government of the United States
The U.S government played a significant role in the killing of the electric vehicle technology. The reason behind this action was as a result of the interest parties within the government who were serving the interest of both the oil and automobiles companies. For instance, the chief of staff of President Bush, Andrew Card, who at a time was the head of the American Automobile Manufacturers Alliance located in California, was advocating for the interest of the automobile industries (Pain, 2006). On a similar note, Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney who were in the White House fought for the benefit of oil companies because they were former board members of oil and auto firms.
American Consumers
American consumers as a major beneficiary of the new technology, EVI, were not given ample time to test the advantages and the disadvantages of this technology. Moreover, GMs negatively campaigned against the technology instead of providing truthful and valid information concerning the EVI to its consumers. Further, the strategy of GM refusing to sell the EVI directly to consumers coupled with the production of electric technological vehicles that did not meet the needs of clients (Pain, 2006). In this respect, the American consumers had a negative interpretation of the EVI.
Interpretative flexibility means that each and every technological product has different and distinct interpretations for various relevant social groups (Bijker, 1997). For instance, the emergence of an electric train that travels at higher speed with less consumption of oil can be perceived differently by both the manufacturers and the oil companies. The self-interest and desire to have full control of the technological design of the said electric train would play a vital role in the interpretation of this technological artifact. In this respect, Bijker (1997) argues, “relevant social groups do not simply see different aspects of one artifact. The meaning given by a relevant social group actually constitutes the artifact” (p.77).
General Motors
General Motors had a negative interpretation of the EVI. The said firm strongly believes that the emergence of EVI would have an adverse economic impact on the future existence of its business. In essence, the existence of EVI would lead to the long-term revenue loss to the GMs because it only requires the little maintenance with no tune-ups. In this respect, it fought against the existence of EVI.
Oil Companies
Oil Companies being the major supplier of the fuel to be used in motor vehicles in the transport industry had a negative interpretation towards the establishment of the EVI. It is important to point out that the EVI would lead to the technological advancement that would shift the consumption in the use of oil for transport to that of hydrogen carbon. The shift mentioned above would have resulted in the loss of revenue to the oil companies. Owing to this reason, the company vehemently fought against the existence of this technology (Pain, 2006).
California Air Resource Board
The California Air Resource Board had a positive interpretation of the General Motors EVI. According to the board, this technology was destined to have both economic and health benefit to the U.S citizenry. Notably, the established of the electric technological vehicle was to mitigate the oil dependency, air pollution, and the global warm (Pain, 2006). Consequently, they passed the Zero-emissions vehicle mandate.
The Government of the United States
The government of the United States had a negative interpretation towards the existence of EVI. Its decision was largely influenced by the senior staff in the Bush Administration who had earlier served in the oil and automobile industries. The said persons were worried that the emergence of this new technological would negatively impact both the oil and vehicle manufacturers (Pain, 2006).
Technological framework connotes to firmness or consistency in ways of thinking and creates stable patterns of interactions among the relevant social groups and actors. It, therefore, dictates the manner of interactions among the mentioned social groups. Notably, each and every actor will attach a meaning to the artifact; those that share the same set of meaning with the artifact will play a fundamental role in shaping it. Similarly, Bijker (1997) noted, “technological frames influence how actors interact” (p. 27). The process is created when the interaction of the social group around the artifact commences and continues. Importantly, the survival of the artifact would primarily depend on its obduracy as it faces the interactions of the relevant social groups.
Oil Companies
Oil companies such as Mobil had identifiable elements that influence how it interpreted and interacted with the artifact. To begin with, the mentioned companies had attached a different set of meaning to the EVI. The primary reason behind this action was attributed to the fact that technological framework posed no benefit to the oil industries. Another element of this company is that it uses its interpretive flexibility to offer unfavorable interpretation towards the establishment of the technological framework. Furthermore, the technological framework did not positively shape the interpretation of the oil company. Instead, the company viewed the emergence EVI as competing technology, thereby making it offer resistance to the innovation of the technological framework (Pain, 2006).
General Motors
General Motors had a number of elements that influenced the establishment of the technological framework. Notably, the survival of a new artifact largely depends on its technological framework. The EVI posed less benefit to the mentioned manufacturing companies; thereby making it to have a different set of meaning and negative interpretation towards EVI. GMs being the major player in shaping the technological innovation of the EVI but it offered resistance to this innovation (Pain, 2006). The primary reason behind this was that the technological framework of EVI seems to provide no benefit to the company.
California Air Resource Board
The technological framework of the EVI played an important role in influencing the interpretation of the California Air Resource Board. As a result of this influence, the board had attached the same set of meaning to that of the EVI. For instance, the EVI was to reduce the emission gasses to the environment, and the board was looking for a technology that would lead to zero emission of gasses to the environment. The board, therefore, played a role of innovation of this technology by defending its exterminations for twelve years (Pain, 2006). The interpretive flexibility of the board favors the existence of the artifact since the establishment of the EVI was to benefit the board.
The American Consumers
The American consumers being the single users of the EVI, it was, therefore, necessary for the technological framework to positively shape and influences their interpretation. However, this goal was not attained because the consumers were not offered with enough information pertaining to the EVI. As a result, they attached a different meaning and interpretation to the technology. Registration of low demand to EVI clearly confirms the meaning and attachment that they had in the new technology (Pain, 2006).
4. Closure
In essence, the closure measure that has been clearly illustrated in this context invariably falls into two categories which comprise of the redefinition of the problem and rhetorical closure. Under both closure mechanism majorly involves the design and interpretative flexibility. It is very clear under the rhetorical closure; the design is not subjected to criticism or varying opinions especially when the existing problem is being solved. This was when the general motors’ was mandated to concentrate on manufacturing the EV1 vehicles. This is because the EV1 was believed to pass Zero emissions and low cost unlike other ordinary vehicles while at the same time disregarding other implications that the EV1 posed on consumers, oil companies, and other motor vehicle companies (Pain, 2006).
The closure mechanism under the redefinition of the problem asserts that though the design under discussion can cause harm and other negative implication, it can also be be used as a solution to other problems. In this regard, most oil companies, America administration and general motors’ campaigned negatively against the electrical vehicles even though the electric vehicles had numerous positive sides (Pain, 2006). Among them included low cost and minimum levels of pollution. In both closure mechanisms, it is clearly evident that every individual and stakeholders have a different interpretation of the design. Notably, most of the interpretation in the closure is subject to change over an extended period of time hence they are not usually permanent.
According to the medium theory, McLuhan discovered that all activities are in content of the only one electricity bulb because they would hardly exist without a light bulb. Comparatively, he pointed out that in the mentioned arrangement the media becomes the message because it controls other factors (McLuhan & McLuhan, 1995). From this argument, it can be deduced that there is only one technological determinist required to change a light bulb.

Bijker, W. E. (1997). Of bicycles, bakelites, and bulbs: Toward a theory of sociotechnical change. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Bijker, W. E., & Pinch, T. (1987). The social construction of technological systems: New directions in the sociology and history of technology. Cambridge: MIT Press.
McLuhan, M., & McLuhan, E. (1995). Laws of media: The new science. Southfield, MI: Readings for the Blind.
Pain, C. (2006, June 28). Who killed the electric car? [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.archive.org/details/WhoKilledTheElectricCar123

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