Freakonomics: Hey Baby, Is That a Prius You’re Driving?

In this podcast, a panel of environmentalists, economists, researchers and journalists discuss why the Toyota Prius has become the style statement for hybrids, as well as why projecting a positive image through both design and function is so important for early adopters.

Why people choose certain vehicles offers some interesting insights in to eco-consumerism. Whilst plenty of people are happy to pay a premium for one specific hybrid vehicle over all others, it’s also possible to draw parallels with the electric bicycle marketplace.

Some people still persist in viewing electric bikes as ‘cheating’. Yet, growing numbers are choosing them as an environmental statement known as ‘conspicuous consumption’. These pioneers may be seen as extravagant (some own both a car and an electric bike). However the statement they make is less about having two modes of transport and more about using the most efficient one for a given purpose.

With the average journey in London consistently less than two miles, walking, cycling and choosing an electric bike are far less extravagant than driving.

From these findings it’s possible to consider that the less an electric bike looks like an electric bike, the more positive the message.