When Elon Musk became co-founder of Tesla in 2003, he wasn’t the only one who wanted to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. Numerous manufacturers understood, just as he did, that the market for clean cars was a blue ocean, as they say in the jargon, an area where there was a lot to gain.
The example of Tesla: beauty and innovation
Someone had even preceded him. Let’s think, for example, of Toyota and its Prius, the first mass-produced hybrid car, whose history dates back to 1997. The model had broken down the frontier between fossil fuel vehicles and new generation cars, projecting in some way the automotive world into the future. The Prius, however, had a serious flaw, which Musk and his collaborators in Tesla noticed immediately: it was ugly.
That’s why the mission of the pointed T became to produce strictly electric cars that also had a satisfying design for the eye, which as we know always wants its share.
The question brought to light by Tesla is not secondary. Having established that there is no alternative to the ecological transition, if we want to prevent our planet from imploding, we must find a way to make the transition to clean energy positive and acceptable to all. The aesthetic side can play a key role in this. Humans are much more willing to accept something beautiful over something that is undoubtedly useful but not very satisfying to the eye.
Last year some Italian creatives presented their own clean city project, during the Innovation Cloud fair in Rome, imagining a possible face for the smart cities of 2050. Although undoubtedly futuristic, that concept presented a very valid idea of a beautiful and clean city.
In fact, it was possible to see hi-tech bell towers that allowed for the refueling of electric vehicles; zero-impact treadmills to facilitate pedestrian mobility; a deep interconnection between buildings through architectural plug-ins and functional street furniture – which relentlessly stores energy and enables data connectivity – and a transparent road surface from which it was possible to observe vehicular traffic, relegated underground to lanes forbidden to pedestrians and velocipedes.
At the current stage, a reality like this is still a dream, but planning and the involvement of urban planning and landscaping professionals in the transitional work can help us achieve such ambitious goals. Combining the useful and the pleasant is possible, but the decision makers must really want it.