The motor industry is lying to you, and has been for years. It’s one of the most ongoing and elaborate deceptions in human economic history. And it’s time for it to stop.
What is your general, average, motoring experience these days? If its anything like mine, (and yes, despite being Superfly Scooterguy with electricity in my veins, I do need to get in the 4-wheeler occasionally), it involves getting to the end of my road, waiting for a gap, gunning it out, making it 50 yards up the road, recalibrating my ‘how long this will take’ expectations, deciding which back route I can take, finding heaps of other people have also taken that option, drumming my fingers, getting agitated, calling ahead (handsfree Bluetooth, I’m not a savage) to say I will be late, then struggling to reach the speed limit on any section of the drive, hoping for the goodwill of strangers at junctions, and paying British Petroleum handsomely for the unsatisfactory experience. Unless I am in the Nissan Leaf, when I don’t have to pay BP, but that car barely makes it to the shops and back before it needs feeding again, and I can’t fit 5 large new scooters in the back. Or one.
But peel open any glossy magazine or flick on the telly and watch a car advert, and does the advert reflect your driving experience? Oh I think not! The ad transports you to a mythical land where the new metal beast cavorts around open, empty switchback mountain roads. It pauses on distant hilltops to drink in the vista, or it fizzes through a neon cityscape transporting a glamourous young couple, indescribably happy about their experience , to an equally glamourous dining location. It misses out the bit where the car is towed and costs them a cab ride and $380 release fee to get back home again.
My point is, the car industry pushes freedom, and the reality is some form of bondage (and not the fun kind), to a mode of transport that chokes the very freedoms it espouses. I don’t think Audi’s marketing department would approve of a video of their latest creation in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Northern motorway as the inhabitants of the latest subdivision attempt to shoehorn their way into the already-gridlocked dawn grind into the city. Or that we would be presented with the fresh-faced young owner of a jazzy yellow Renault peeling an $80 parking ticket off their windscreen after exiting that glamourous night-time eatery. Yet these are far more likely scenarios for the proud owners of these cars than anything they saw in the advertising promotion that persuaded them to buy the thing in the first place.
Which is where I am going with all this. The illusion is total. You buy freedom. You get gridlock. You buy excitement. You get irritation. You buy high performance. You get speeding tickets (because they failed to mention that although it does 250kmh, you still can’t drive it over 100 or the blue lights come on in the mirrors).
So what to do? Well, you could join a tribe of freedom-fighters, dedicated to personal liberty and filled with personal resolve to create a better, cleaner, more authentic transportational future. I call them scooter riders!