London: Culture, Fashion, and the Electric Vehicle

  • Ivo Wengraf
Part of the Lecture Notes in Mobility book series (LNMOB)


In this chapter, I outline the mobility culture of London through the example of the G-Wiz EV. London, as a global megacity, has a mobility culture that must function under a wide range of transport, environmental, political, economic, land use and architectural constraints. In short, a modern global city squeezed into a historical shell, with a mobility culture marked by little negotiation room for large scale shifts through built environment alterations or behavioural change. This “make do and mend” mobility culture limits the conceptualisation of the issue of mobility in London. This chapter considers the G-Wiz, a small EV which experienced a remarkable and seemingly sudden increase in sales. Through a confluence of social, economic and technical conditions, EV sales increased sharply, following running cost incentives (significantly the Congestion Charge) and the fashion of green conspicuous consumption dominant in UK public discourse at the time. This chapter argues that the G-Wiz was used as a mobility tool to adapt superficially to mobility constraints without a change to either the ways of moving in the city or the ways of understanding those movements. Thus, the G-Wiz serves as a useful example of London’s mobility culture at work.


Public Transport Electric Vehicle Internal Combustion Engine Transport Infrastructure Global City 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ivo Wengraf
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal Automobile Club Foundation for MotoringLondonUK

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