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HomeEconomicsCautionary Tales – The False Daybreak of the Electrical Automotive

Cautionary Tales – The False Daybreak of the Electrical Automotive


Sir Clive Sinclair was a pc whizz and enterprise mogul to rival Steve Jobs or Invoice Gates. He was a visionary who may do no incorrect… till he tried to launch an electrical car.

The C5 “electrically assisted pedal cycle” doesn’t appear so outlandish to us now… however 1985 simply wasn’t prepared for the “aerodynamic bathtub” on wheels. Sir Clive was ridiculed and his enterprise ruined. How did all of it go so incorrect?

Cautionary Tales is written by me, Tim Harford, with Andrew Wright. It’s produced by Ryan Dilley, with help from Courtney Guarino and Emily Vaughn.

The sound design and unique music is the work of Pascal Wyse. Julia Barton edited the scripts.

Due to the crew at Pushkin Industries, together with Mia Lobel, Jacob Weisberg, Heather Fain, Jon Schnaars, Carly Migliori, Eric Sandler, Emily Rostek, Royston Beserve, Maggie Taylor, Nicole Morana, Daniella Lakhan and Maya Koenig.

[Apple] [Spotify] [Stitcher]

Additional studying and listening

We relied on up to date media protection, plus three books about Sir Clive Sinclair and his innovations: “Sinclair and the Dawn Expertise” by Ian Adamson and Richard Kennedy; “The Sinclair C5 Story” by D.J. Cogan, and specifically “The Sinclair Story” by Rodney Dale.

The concept of innovation and the adjoining potential is explored in Steven Johnson’s “The place Good Concepts Come From“.

An educational exploration of the affair is Andrew P. Marks, (1989),”The Sinclair C5 – An Investigation into its Improvement, Launch, and Subsequent Failure”, European Journal of Advertising, Vol. 23 Iss 1 pp. 61 – 71



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