Virginia Scharff's Femininity And The Electric Car

1626 words - 7 pages

Virginia Scharff's "Femininity and the Electric Car"

In "Femininity and the Electric Car," Virginia Scharff examines the electric car, its history, and the targeted customers at which it was aimed.

Five hundred electric cars were produced by the Pope Manufacturing Company in 1897. According to Scharff, this was after Colonel Albert A. Pope, the president of that company, decided not to concentrate "on noisy or smelly gasoline-powered cars, but instead, on clean, quiet electric vehicles." ("Femininity and the Electric Car" p.75) The Pope Manufacturing Company clearly targeted women as customers. This is evident in their advertising strategy. For example, Scharff says, "As Pope ...view middle of the document...

Perhaps husbands liked the restricted range that their wives would have because maybe they didn’t trust them enough to go on longer trips. In this manner of using the electric car nearly exclusively for chores, the technology seemed more oppressive to women rather than liberating.

In addition to a limited range, Scharff mentions a number of other disadvantages that the electric car had. It was more expensive than a gasoline-powered car. It was difficult to drive on bumpy roads and was unable to climb steep hills. The battery was a constant hassle to recharge. There were considerably fewer stations throughout roads where the batteries of electric cars could be recharged than there were gas stations. Also, the recharging of batteries was more frequent and time consuming than filling a gas tank. Scharff said that "the General Electric Company asserted , ‘any woman can charge her own electric with a G-E Rectifier,’ advertising with a photograph of a woman charging her car, using a machine that occupied most of one wall of the family garage." (p.78) Such a large apparatus, which is unnecessary for a gasoline-powered car, seems like a waste of space. Although Thomas Edison had hoped to devise a better battery that would enable electric cars to travel a greater distance, no substantial improvements have been made in that area to this day.

Despite its obvious disadvantages over a gasoline-powered car, the electric car continued to be marketed toward women because it had some advantages over alternative means of transportation. For example, the electric car was considered to be more effective than the horse and buggy, while offering more privacy than mass transportation. It was a cleaner means of transportation than a gasoline-powered car. However, that doesn’t mean that there was an absence of any pollution resulting from the operation of electric cars, since the electricity to power them was produced at electric power plants by burning fossil fuels. Even so, they are probably safer for the environment, especially now at a time when more is known about rising pollution and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

According to Scharff, there were three "forces" that limited the future of the electric car. Scharff says, "All three forces – female nonconformity, technological innovation, and economic competition – were very much in play in the first third of the century." (p.79) Scharff backs these "forces" with further evidence. Many women did not want to receive a slow car with limited range as a wedding present. Rather they wanted to drive gasoline-powered cars, which were made easier to drive, while few changes were made to electric cars. Gasoline-powered cars also were a more economical solution to the need for transportation than electric cars. They were more competitively priced and as a result of changes in production techniques became even less expensive.

Scharff says that "The electric car, marketed primarily as a woman’s vehicle, provides...

Other Essays Like Virginia Scharff's Femininity And The Electric Car

Informative Speech Electriccars

1317 words - 6 pages - Though any type of car you drive will get you to where you need to be, the electric car not only does that but also helps the environment at the same time. Preview - First, we will go back in time and look at the history of the electric cars; next we will see where the electric cars are today; and finally we will explore what is to come of electric cars in the future. History

How Hybrid Cars Work Essay

797 words - 4 pages . Next I’ll explain to you the differences how gasoline vs. electric power vehicles works. A gas powered car has a fuel tank, which supplies gasoline to the engine. The engine then turns a transmission, which then turns the wheels. An electric car on the other hand, has a set of batteries that provides electricity to an electric motor. The motor turns a transmission, and the transmission turns the wheels. The hybrid is a compromise. It attempts

Pros And Cons Of Electric Cars

536 words - 3 pages 6/6/2012 “One of the biggest topics for debate in the 21st century is that of global warming and alternative fuels. There is much discussion about whether all the emissions that are produced by factories and automobiles have some effect on the atmosphere. To that end, many people are looking to reduce their carbon footprint. One of the ways to do this is to purchase an alternative fuel car such as a hybrid or electric car. There are many

Modernism - Womanhood and Femininity

3447 words - 14 pages To what extent does modernist and/or postmodernist literature and/or film confirm or question the dominant ideologies of womanhood and femininity? How does it do this? Postmodernism is the reaction of the development of the modernism movement, it consists after the modernism movement from a literal point of view. Postmodernism can be defined by a set of perspectives which are mainly used as a critical point of view in such works as literature

What's Better; Gas Powered Cars Or Battery-Powered Cars?

785 words - 4 pages the lack of suitable long lasting batteries to meet the needs of the everyday car owner. We have all the technology we need to produce electric vehicles, however the batteries are big, expensive, and don't have the power and range people need. Gas powered cars will be the main type of car unless we start developing batteries that are technologically advanced enough to use in a efficient car.Basically an electric car has a rechargeable lithium ion

Industrialization in Asia Pacific to Drive Industrial Personnel and Burden Carrier (Electric) Market to Us$174.6 Mn Globally by 2021

936 words - 4 pages profiled in this report on the basis of the company overview, recent development, products/services, historical roadmap and future strategies in the global industrial personnel and burden carrier (electric) market. The key players in the industrial personnel and burden carrier (electric) market include Columbia ParCar Corporation, Cushman Inc., Bradshaw Electric Vehicles, Club Car, E-Z-GO, Pack Mule, Taylor-Dunn Manufacturing Company, Motrec Inc


884 words - 4 pages “A Carbon-Free, Stackable Rental Car An MIT group hopes that its foldable electric vehicles will cut pollution, and ease congestion. By Michael Patrick Gibson The Smart Cities group at the MIT Media Lab is working on two low-cost electric vehicles that it hopes will revolutionize mass transit and help alleviate pollution. Next week, the group will unveil a prototype of its foldable electric scooter at the EICMA Motorcycle Show, in Milan. A

Electric Cars

781 words - 4 pages Nissan Leaf. A related technology, the gasoline-electric hybrid car is powered by both large batteries and a gasoline engine. Working together, this setup improves fuel efficiency. The first thoroughly modern hybrid car was the Toyota Prius, which was released in 1997. Recently, there has been a small surge of popularity spurred by government subsidies and rebates which have been driving the sales of these types of vehicles up. Usually they are more

Team Paper

3385 words - 14 pages electric cars could be better than gasoline-powered cars. With instant torque, incredible power, and zero emissions, Tesla’s product would be cars without compromise. Each new generation would be increasingly affordable, helping the company work towards its mission: to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transportation. Tesla’s engineers first designed a powertrain for a sports car built around an AC induction motor, patented in

Gasoline Vehicles vs Hybrids

1113 words - 5 pages Karl Friedrich Benz a German engineer who invented the first automobile (car) called (DRP 37435), this vehicle came with petroleum driven and internal combustion engine. The engine of that automobile was water-cooled and had electric ignition. The DRP 37435 was powered by an internal combustion engine; three wheeled four cycle, engine and chassis from a single unit. However, a mass production of cars was produced in 1908 by a man named Henry Ford

Air Pollution

305 words - 2 pages really harmful to the human body. It affects the human respiratory system by causing breathing problems and respiratory infections. A compound called tetraethyl lead use to be put in car to make them run more efficiently. The lead that was used was very harmful to humans especially children. This caused many neurological problems. In 1976 there was a all car manufacturers made automobiles to use only unleaded fuel. This in itself has made a dramatic

Related Papers

Who Killed The Electric Car Essay

728 words - 3 pages Luis Salas Who killed the electric car ? Environmental issues Who Killed the Electric Car is a documentary which unfolds a complex set of events around the development and demise of the modern electric car. The story stems from California from the early 1990s to 2006. Everything begins to unfold with a brief history of the

The Electric Car One Of The Greatest Inventions Of The Century

416 words - 2 pages The electric car was one of the greatest developments of the last century. With this new technology, people have the ability to choose an environmentally friendly form of transportation that will also save them money on gas. The development of these cars will change the future of transportation.Carbon dioxide emissions from gas cars have made a serious impact on the ozone layer and global warming. The release of carbon dioxide from cars has done

The Double Lives Of Servants: A Comparison And Contrast Between The Representation Of Servants In Virginia Woolf's "Between The Acts" And Jamaica Kincaid's "Lucy"

3011 words - 13 pages Dinah perceives her to be.Both Virginia Woolf and Jamaica Kincaid have elevated the roles of servants in their novels to be more than transient accoutrements to the main characters of the plot. In Woolf's case this elevation is more subtle and its extent can only be seen by a careful analysis of her prose. In Kincaid's novel the servant is the main character, and through relatively simple language Kincaid reveals complex intricacies in the

Our World And Health Car Delivery In The Future

2644 words - 11 pages | Our World and Health Care Delivery In The Future | | | LaTisha M. Green | HCA/24011/04/2012Vinod Sharma | | Demographics and disease trends have a big influence on health care and how it is going to be delivered now and in the future as well. The world around us is forever changing and we need to make sure that we are changing and evolving with it as well. In this paper we are going to discuss two things that are making us