People Are Getting Into Their Cars for Some Me-Time
Here in Malaysia, life has returned somewhat to normal in what we are calling the Recovery Movement Control Order period. We can go to work, go out to shop, dine out at restaurants and cafe, etc albeit following certain social distancing rules. In other parts of the world, though, the pandemic rages on. Many people are still under quarantine at home with their families, so it’s like Christmas every day – and that’s not everyone’s idea of a good time. In fact, a study by TrueCar.com found that as many as 73% of respondents from the USA admitted to retreating into their cars to get away from the people they live with. So, if you were/are one of these people, rest assured that you are part of the majority, hence, normal.
During the pandemic, the personal vehicle has found new roles beyond just being a mode of transport. It has become an extension of the home and the office, and a therapeutic tool of sorts: 32% of the study’s respondents have converted their driver seat into a makeshift office; a significant number – around 37% – use the quiet cabin of the vehicle to take personal or business calls; and 56% use it for leisurely drives just to get away from the house, not forgetting the majority who use it to get some “me-time”.
If this is the way it will be for a while, carmakers might do well to consider features to accommodate the new ways people are using the car. Take the 2021 Ford F-150, for instance, which lets you convert the center console into a work surface and the front seats into flatbeds, making it a home, office and truck in one.
Video source: caranddriver.com
Many models from the likes of Toyota, Audi, Mercedes, BMW, Ford and General Motors already come with in-built Wi-Fi hotspot for you to connect your devices to. Meanwhile, Tesla has gotten it right with their large 17-inch touchscreen, which now lets you screen Netflix or Youtube so you don’t just have to watch your favourite programmes from your living room.
It’s no surprise though that people have found it comfortable to retreat to their car: 68% of the respondents see the car as an extension of the family, If the car was a person, it would be everyone’s favourite aunt.