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INDUSTRIAL FAILURE

INDUSTRIAL FAILURE

 

For those interested in innovation (other readers are probably members of my family), innovative failures and (very) ambitious are always a pity object of sympathy and, moreover, a rich source of lessons . And this is especially true when, with 30 years of hindsight, some of the vision seems relevant while at the same time, the causes of future failure are obvious.

Thus, the Sinclair C5 electric tricycle is often considered one of the worst failures in the history of marketing. Here Wholesale its history: after making a fortune by selling electronic products (radios, quartz watches, ...) and, above all, thanks to its computers Sinclair ZX80 (one of the early success of the micro-computer), Sir Clive Sinclair launched the Sinclair C5 large scale in the early 80s.
In these times of oil crises, Sir Clive Sinclair urge the absurdity of all automobile and designs an electric tricycle reduced size (so far, it's going) with pedals (for legal reasons and to compensate for the chronic weakness of the battery ).

Except that successful (Sir, already, that his class man) and largely financed by his previous successes, time is not the Cartesian doubt or market study. Also, the C5 goes directly from the drawing board to industrial production (Hoover) accompanied by a massive commercial launch. This is exactly what is often called "an engineering invention": simply insist heavily to convince the customer of the utility of the new product ...
And with a sense of timing confusing, even with Sinclair joins De Lorean for distribution which, in addition to his appearance in "Back to the Future", is best known as full industrial misfires (which ends rather badly ) ...
Obviously (in 1985), the battery performance was insufficient in a lack of autonomy and speed. In addition, the C5 format, both too bulky for sidewalks and too small / too low (and slow) for roads makes it difficult to use in the absence of appropriate infrastructure (bike lanes). Finally, the choice of an open vehicle, the UK, reveals a dark contempt for meteorology. As for the cool-factor (the eyes of his contemporaries), it is that a geek team 1985 in complete autonomy.
For these reasons, despite a massive promotional campaign (William and Harry led them C5 in Kensington Palace Gardens), production stops after a few months due to lack of sales.
Overall, customers have not found the product utility.

Ironically, 30 years later, the Sinclair C5 are now the subject of a quasi-cult and exchange much more than their original selling price (banning cars in central London has renewed interest in C5).

Re-ironically, with the same specifications (electrical, light, etc.), Sir Clive Sinclair could simply develop an electric bike (which it does today, and see Zike Abike) where n had not been obsessed with the automobile format.