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There’s no such thing as a free lunch

11 months ago

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Writer:

David Twohig | Engineer

Date:

23 March 2023

The old one about free lunches – it’s as true in the cruelly realistic activity of automotive engineering as anywhere else. Every time you think you’ve found a little something that costs nothing, you end up discovering you have to pay for it after all, one way or another.

In case I was ever tempted to forget this, it was hammered home to me some years ago when I was working as the engineering project leader on the little Renault Zoe electric vehicle. As such, one of my tasks was reading, analysing and proposing appropriate responses to ideas from people on how to improve our forthcoming little battery-powered fighter.

Now, this may surprise you, but it’s not that unusual for members of the general public to write to car companies with product improvement ideas. People send emails, letters, tweets and all manner of communications to all large car companies with their ‘suggestions’. Over the years I had had to deal with a handful of such missives. But in 2009, the Renault-Nissan Alliance’s announcement of a mass product development offensive of electric vehicles seemed to open some kind of floodgate.

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