When I was a kid (in the 80s, since you ask), I can remember cars having electric window winders fitted to convert manual windows into electric windows. It worked like this:
- Remove the manual window winder
- Fit a plastic box to the door panel (the boxes contained an electric motor that fitted over the winder and a switch to operate the window)
- Wire the ‘electric window’ in to the car’s electrics
These boxes were about the size of half a brick and about as pretty – you wouldn’t put up with it today, even on a second-hand car.
Strangely enough, however, one thing today’s drivers do seem happy to put up with is sticking a plastic box to their windscreen or dashboard and then dangling a wire from it down to their cigarette lighter socket. They are also happy to remove and refit this contraption every time they leave their cars, to prevent someone breaking in and stealing it.
This contraption is, of course, sat nav. Fortunately for people like me, who don’t like trailing wires everywhere, history seems to be repeating itself and satellite navigation is an increasingly common standard fitment in many new cars and vans.
Renault, for example, has just announced that its Carminat TomTom satellite navigation system, which is built in to the dashboard, will now be fitted as standard on many more of its models. The updated system will also include, as standard, coverage of 50 countries, lane guidance and TomTom’s IQ Routes system, which uses real-time traffic data to help plan the most efficient route.
It looks like the booming market in satellite navigation units could start to fade away in the next 5 years – after all, who sells electric window winders now?