Sometimes it takes little less than an open mind to let go of preconceived notions and embrace what the future holds. That also means realizing that nothing lasts, nothing rests, everything evolves and moves. So it is with the automobile, in general, and the same can be said about the introduction of the gas car, a century ago.
The gist is that the story of our editor explains what convinced him, and what “did it”. As with many gearheads, he was a traditional gas car fan. As with, also many gearheads, he realized how much petroleum polluted and where some of that money was eventually funneled. As with many, guilt was mixed with pleasure.
Performance Gas Cars. Once bitten by a performance car, it’s hard to have a regular mass market one as a daily drive. Having driven Alfa Romeos since the early 90s meant you could have great performance and looks for little money.
Approaching The Electric Car. Whatever your motivation for going forward with the electric car, there are plenty of reasons. When our editor first saw the Tesla Roadster live at the Long Beach Grand Prix, it looked good, the proportions were right, however, as with most mechanically inclined people, he said he would miss the sounds, smells and gear shifting. That, of course, makes electric vehicle, EV drivers smile. They have that “Mona Lisa smile”, which we dubbed here, the EV grin.
Technically Speaking. The way to a gearhead’s heart is to talk numbers and experience them. And that did it. With Chelsea Sexton from Plug In America, featured in the movie Who Killed The Electric Car? talking about her experience with her EV-1, it was hard not to see the future possibilities in it. What were her arguments? Beating BMW form a standstill and changing tires every 5,000 miles. After that, a quick walk to the Tesla show car made it clear that this little electric thing had a lot of potential.
Winning A Gearhead’s Heart. The clincher was driving an eBox from AC Propulsion. Sitting in an EV the first time and driving it is a strange experience. Not only it makes little to no noise, but it is responsive, and if it has enough power, it will surprise you. It is relentless. It keeps on accelrating, no matter what speed until you reach the limits of the revolution of the motor. Nothing can prepare you for that initial kick in the pants unless you have driven a race car, and only when it is already moving.
In conclusion, what won our editor’s heart and mind was the potential of the electric drive. The 100% torque delivery as soon as it spins talks to gearheads. As far as missing the gear shifting and sounds? They are acquired tastes and can be replaced. What is a “sound” to a gearhead was once noise. The pleasing whizz of an electric engine will soon be associated with quiet performance. Finally, is the psyche of the general population ready for motor noise subtlety, when loud obnoxious motorcycles are a symbol (only to some) of virility and cool factor? Yes, once you have driven a performance electric car. Then, you will understand how the electric motor is far superior to a gas engine.