When you are young most people would like a car with the performance of a racing car. When you get a little older and have children then you want something with the strength of an armoured personnel carrier in order to keep them safe. By the time you are old enough to have grandchildren, you are worried about whether the world’s resources will still be round for them and you would like a car with the fuel efficiency of the ETH PAC Car II which at 15,212 mpg, or 0.01857 litres/100 km holds the world record for fuel efficiency. In my case the compromise is a Volkswagen Golf, which is an example of the engineering conflict resolution between cost, structural integrity, performance and sustainability discussed in last week’s post [‘Conflict Resolution’ on June 25, 2014].
My colleague who lives in Zürich has an alternative resolution to the conflict. He does not own a car. Instead he has bought shares in a car sharing scheme, Mobility. If he needs a car then he selects a car on-line from those available in the nearest car-park and there 2500 available from 1200 in Switzerland. When I visited him a few weeks ago he picked up a sporty BMW 1 series by using a smart card in his wallet to open the car and said if he had been on his own then he would have taken the little SMART car parked next to it. As my Swiss colleague said if you are the car you drive then he can be a different person everyday.