By on September 6, 2019

Image: Porsche AG

One of the first electric cars I ever drove was also one of the slowest cars I’ve ever piloted. It was a first-generation Nissan Leaf, which on its own was hardly a powerhouse. Certainly, it didn’t go the distance in other ways, as well. Pressing the “eco” button to conserve what limited range I had, the Leaf turned into the biggest slug this side of a Chevette diesel. It was almost dangerously slow.

But it was electric, and the Leaf, at the time, was one of a precious few real EVs any buyer could get their hands on. It’s unlikely those in the market for a non-luxury EV were all that concerned about acceleration back in 2011 or 2012, or whenever it was.

Has anything changed?

The big green news this week was Porsche’s reveal of its slinky Taycan, an EV with no shortage of power and pedigree. Almost instantly, the online crowd began weighing the Taycan’s attributes against those of the Tesla Model S. The Model S is cheaper, can go further on a charge, and it’s maybe a tenth of a second faster to 60 mph than its German rival when placed in Ludicrous Mode.

This author’s reaction? Who fucking cares!

We’re talking the difference between 2.5 and 2.6 seconds to 60 mph. Yes, bragging rights are a big part of prestige, but come on. The Tesla fanbase is already the most annoying crop of people to emerge since certain Westerners quit meat and decided not to let anyone forget about it, but this dick-measuring contest is computer-tossed-out-the-window fare.

Good on Tesla for making a faster car. But is it the most desireable of the two? That all depends on the buyer’s mindset.

Were I purchasing an electric car, looks, range, and price would top the list of concerns, and not in that particular order. For the six-figure car crowd, practical concerns might easily take a backseat to the braggadocious elements of said vehicles. Now, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is taking a Model S to the obnoxiously overused Nürburgring to try and beat the Taycan’s 7 minute, 42 second lap time.

Competition breeds better products, so there’s nothing wrong with two automakers jousting in a closed-course arena. We love it when Ford and Chevy rag on each other’s pickups. And yet the Fremont automaker’s stated goal of saving the world via electric propulsion really doesn’t jibe with its boss’s need to one-up electric rivals at the upper range of price and performance. Musk doesn’t want you to buy the years-delayed $35k Model 3 Standard Range; the everyman’s EV was disappeared shortly after its introduction, though it seems the thing’s still on sale.

I digress! When it comes to electric vehicles, it would seem that longer range is the thing most buyers want. Chevrolet and Hyundai realize this. Providing longer range for an affordable price is what’s going to save the world, at least for those who subscribe to that view of battery-powered vehicles.

Let’s put this to the readers: If you’re thinking about getting into an EV for your next vehicle, where does speed sit on your list of must-haves?

[Image: Porsche]

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114 Comments on “QOTD: Do You Care One Bit About Electric Vehicle Speed?...”


  • avatar

    I don’t care one bit about them period. pun intended.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    As long as I can pump gas and they continue to make it, I will probably be the last EV adapter. To me, hybrid drive trains make much more sense.

    I wouldn’t be worried too much about overall speed as much as I would torque to merge into traffic/off ramps (which I understand an electric vehicle should excel at).

  • avatar
    Featherston

    “The Tesla fanbase is already the most annoying crop of people to emerge since certain Westerners quit meat and decided not to let anyone forget about it. . . .”

    As a disinterested observer, I actually find the Tesla fanbase critic cohort to be at least as annoying as the Tesla fanbase, perhaps even more so.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I begun to wonder if marketing electrification as a luxury and performance technology would have led to faster EV adoption. It sure seems like the B&B and their reflexive Luddism might have been tamed by claims of 0-60 in 2.5 seconds, 1000 lb/ft of torque at 0 rpm, etc.

    Then again no one has ever made money catering to the B&B.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Problem is that, when driven fast, BEVs have no range at all. Just getting around Burgerking without stopping for a charge, is a bit of a feat. Combine that with fast, outside of simple urban cut-off a-holery, being pretty much a useless trait unless you are somewhat far into the sticks, the whole “fast” BEV is really nothing practical at all.

      If you have to drive LA-Bozeman in one sitting, a fast car could, theoretically, allow you to get there equally quick on more interesting backroads, instead of sitting there suffocating on some over patrolled freeway. That’s been the purpose of GTs since their introduction. Not to be theoretically fast all the way from Bel Air to Beverly Hills, just in case all other cars and cops in LA somehow disappeared one day.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “Problem is that, when driven fast, BEVs have no range at all.”

        No, when driven fast, an EV has *less* range, and the same is true of any conventionally powered vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        pinkslip

        Your criticism boils down to a complaint of recharging times. Everything else in your comment can apply to ICEs. A mid-2000s C63 had the same capacity fuel tank as the base model C-class, so it only had a 200 mile range when driven normally. Driving all-out in that (which is easy to do, given how good it sounds) would easily drop the tank range well below 200 miles. And only an a-hole would drive a C63 OR a Model 3 Performance all-out all the time.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          And conversely, if recharging/refueling is a hardship, you’re essentially swapping minor (IMO) daily use inconvenience for minor (IMO) road trip inconvenience. A friend bought a Model 3 in the spring–FreedMike and I have discussed it in a previous thread–and I believe he’s used a charging station exactly once, and that just to see what it was like. Apart from that, he’s only ever charged it at home because it’s never come close to running out of juice in day-to-day use. The x number of minutes he’d been spending at gas stations are now free time.

          LA-to-Bozeman in one sitting is not a typical use case for anyone except a long-haul trucker. If I’m doing a 17.5-hr drive, I’m mixing in a fair few stops to eat, use the bathroom, or stretch my legs, and some of these could correspond to recharging breaks.

          Engineering Explained has a lengthy vlog post about a California-to-Michigan road trip in a Model 3. It’s definitely doable.

          I love driving and riding in a car, whether it’s gasoline, diesel, or electric. I totally agree with FreedMike’s take that the electric experience isn’t bad at all, just different. And it’s really not *that* diferent.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “It’s definitely doable.”

            Doable and preferable aren’t the same thing though.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @ajla: “Doable” is universal; Preferable is personal.

            In my opinion, “Doable” and “Preferable” are the same thing when it comes to EVs.

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            100%. Most of us buy gas WAY more times for daily use than for road trips. And most of us are WAY more pressed for time in our daily life than on a nice road trip vacation.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            That’s why I find the idea of a PHEV appealing. You can use the electric range for daily life and have the convenience of ICE infrastructure for long trips.

            I guess compared to many commenters here I’ve never found stopping for fuel to be a particularly onerous task so not having to do it anymore isn’t the major positive it is for some other people. It would be nice to have the opportunity to try a BEV for a long trip just to better understand the experience, but for now there is too much uncertainty for me to buy one before either ranges increase or the charging infrastructure builds out more.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Does electric car speed or acceleration rates matter to me? No. Not at all.

    Thing is, the whole premise of electric cars is that they are supposed to be more environmentally friendly than ICE cars. But that point itself is very muddied by the fact that most US electricity is generated using fossil fuels, that nuclear waste has not yet been figured out, and that “renewable power sources” will never generate more than a tiny fraction of the electricity required to power our society. As such, I view electric cars as a pointless sideshow.

    As far as I can tell, a super fast acceleration rate simply consumes more battery power faster. That energy must then be replenished from a fossil fuel fired power plant. In essence, a fast accelerating electric car is just as wasteful as a Hellcat. Doesn’t that betray the point of electric cars?

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “the whole premise of electric cars is that they are supposed to be more environmentally friendly than ICE cars.”

      Says you. A very strong case can be made that it’s primarily a luxury and performance technology. And given the nature and simplicity of an electric motor it may also be a reliability and durability technology as the industry matures.

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        Marketing for electric cars, for example, Nissan’s Leaf, is very much geared toward environmentalism. Not sure how anybody can deny that,

        That said, your point that electric cars offer benefits of reliability and durability is very true. I don’t recall ever seeing any electric car being marketed that way however.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        ICEs’ drivetrains have been reliable to the point where it has become largely irrelevant for almost all uses, for decades by now.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          ICE drivetrains are all reliable now? My VW and Ford beg to differ, to my mechanic’s delight. But it’s not just repairs, it’s maintenance too. With an EV you eliminate oil and filter changes, timing belt replacements, head gasket leaks, most brake jobs, and so forth. TCO should be lower on an EV.

          But in fairness, it’s early days for EV technology, and as the relatively short lifespans of air-cooled Nissan batteries and first-generation Tesla drive units show, it’s possible for manufacturers to get it wrong as they figure it out. At this point we have enough information that I can say I’d feel comfortable with a post-2015 Tesla, or a Chevy Volt or Bolt.

      • 0 avatar
        MoparRocker74

        jmo—anyone who’s ever been into slotcars knows an electric motor has a very long life. What you’re forgetting is how expensive and fragile batteries and electronics are. Mid ’90’s level of electronics were the perfect balance, but it’s jumped the shark. Failed touch screens and over complicated extras are what brick newer cars. That may not be enough to scrap something with inherent collector/hotrodding appeal but lesser everyday cars are another story. No more $2500 reliable beaters. Electric cars more than a few years old will be like a used smartphone: costs several times more than its worth to refurbish and its obsolete/undesirable anyway. If EVs ever become mainstream, then pretty much everyone from middle class and under won’t be owning cars.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “In essence, a fast accelerating electric car is just as wasteful as a Hellcat.”

      My EV gets the equivalent of 120 – 150 mpg. Efficiencies of scale means that generating electricity – even from coal-fired plants – is more efficient than burning gasoline in individual cars.

      Declaring that EVs are equivalent to ICEs in aggregate energy consumption is patently false.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Even in the worst case — electricity derived from a coal-fired power plant — the EV emits about half as much carbon as an ICE car of similar capability.

      And most places outside of Appalachia have electricity that is at least somewhat cleaner. The more non-coal fuel in the mix, the better that number gets.

      Here in Seattle, we’re at the opposite end of the range. Most of our energy is hydro and most of the rest is wind and solar. 3% of our supply is natural gas. Per mile, my Bolt is emitting about 1% the carbon of my Highlander Hybrid, a relatively efficient ICE car.

      Yes, EVs are currently worse from a manufacturing standpoint; no, over a typical car lifecycle they aren’t worse overall, even with nasty power.

      • 0 avatar
        Lee in MD

        How are you liking your Bolt so far? My wife is considering trading in her 2016 Volt for a 2019 Bolt. Dealers near us are putting $12K – 18K on the hood of 2019 Bolts. Even considering the laughably inflated GM MSRPs, the net result with the $3750 federal tax credit and MD sales tax credit is a surprisingly low driveaway of $23K to $28K depending on trim level. That seems almost too good to pass up.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Overall we’re very satisfied and would buy again.

          Pros:
          – Drives beautifully for a FWD compact car. Nice ride/handling mix, surprisingly quick, great one-pedal mode.
          – Packaging and space utilization are awesome. It’s 164″ long and 69″ wide and fits with ease in every tiny urban parking spot. But it can comfortably fit four taller adults with several rollaboards in the back.
          – Electronics and displays are nicely thought out and easy to use.
          – Very good “fuel” efficiency. Can easily get 4.25 mi/kWh if you don’t drive like an idiot.

          Cons:
          – Front seats. The bolsters are hard and close together and will dig into your back if you’re big. I’m 5’10” 205# with wide shoulders and it works for me, but if I were even a little wider it would be really uncomfortable. For my 5’3″ 115# wife, they’re great.
          – Interior materials are Sonic-grade.
          – Some features I miss: power seats (& memory), sunroof, dual climate (the system is a single-zone auto system).

          • 0 avatar
            Lee in MD

            Hmm. You’ve given me much to think about. Thx!

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            TBH I agree with you that the current deals make the 2019 Bolt very hard to pass up. We bought ours (loaded Premier, fast charging, Bose) for about $35K before tax credit, before the 2020 with longer range was announced, and even at that price we found the value compelling.

    • 0 avatar
      AtoB

      “Nuclear waste has not yet been figured out”.

      Yes it has. Yucca mountain and similar repositories, sub seabed disposal or just chucking it into the ocean deep are all time honored and safe ways to dispose of even the highest levels of nuclear waste.

      The real problem is nuclear waste is more financially and politically exploitable as a problem.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    A 0-60 time in the 5-6 second range is just fine for me.

    A quarter mile under 15 sec is great, anything faster is just gravy. (Yes I’m speaking for myself and my family ride.)

    It’s like the guys on the TourX forum who are proud to have an early build “red needle” gauge cluster car because there is no speed limiter and you can hit 130 mph instead of the speed limited 120 mph of the later build “white needle” cars.

    It’s still plenty fast to let me have to shake hands with an officer after a traffic stop. It’s plenty fast enough to support my mission to turn my kids into enthusiasts.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    I don’t care about the speed at all. If I were to replace my car with an electric one, it would be used mostly for commuting duty. As long as it can keep up with traffic, merge safely, and have enough range for me to head off on a day trip to another nearby city, then that’s good enough for me. I commute 50 miles or so round trip each day. I have a truck and a motorcycle if I need to go further without range anxiety.

    More charging stations are popping up all the time in my neck of the woods, so I’m getting closer to considering one.

    The big thing is when the cost of entry is low enough to offset the cost of fuel I would be using. It’s not there yet.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    I don’t care about electric cars PERIOD. I realize they can be fast and they accelerate quickly. So what? If it’s not engaging, exhilarating and a completely thrilling experience then it’s pointless. Id rather ride the bus than pay FAR out the @$$ for some sterile and soulless rolling computer. Motorcycle guys get it: no one will ever argue that sport bikes are indeed ‘faster’ than a big big twin cruiser. But it’s a completely different experience and it’s meant for two totally different riders. Of the crowd that goes all in for electric cars, it’s a VERY minute sliver that’s in it for anything other than a greenie or technophile reason.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “If it’s not engaging, exhilarating and a completely thrilling experience then it’s pointless.”

      What high performance electric cars have you driven?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I agree somewhat with Mopar here (first time for everything, right?).

      I own an Audi A3, and test drove a Model 3. The cars aren’t as dissimilar as you’d think – they’re both compact, sporty sedans, and the single-motor Tesla I drove has a similar as-tested performance profile. The difference is how the Tesla does it. You have to work to get the most out of my car, as you do with any “conventional” car, but the Tesla is like a slot car for the road – hit the button, and it’s going fast. It’s that simple. Boom. It’s more or less “automated.” You really aren’t involved. Some people might dig that; others won’t. Personally, I got a kick out of it. Different isn’t necessarily bad.

      I don’t think that will matter much to non-enthusiasts, though.

      • 0 avatar
        duncanator

        I have a 2015 A3 with 89k miles and it’s plenty fast for me. Last weekend, I test drove a Model 3, non performance and I felt it was fast. I mainly commute and as the A3 gets older, I know I’m going to spend more. With superchargers all over my area, I’d have no problem charging either. It’s just hard to justify spending that much money to replace a vehicle that is paid off and has been relatively trouble free. No amount of rebates and gas savings would make up for that.

    • 0 avatar
      jh26036

      It’s thrilling to me to never go to a gas station ever again.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @MoparRocker: I would remind you that Harley-Davidson and several other companies are advertising all-electric bikes right now. So apparently these electric cars ARE, “engaging, exhilarating and a completely thrilling experience.”

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      TBH I get far more “engaging, exhilarating and [] completely thrilling experience[s]” on my bicycle (either the electric-assist one or the 100% human power one) than I do in any car, given the nature of the roads and car traffic around me.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        That’s the most positive spin on “constant fear of impending death” I’ve ever heard. I have a regular bike and a pedelec, and I enjoy them, but there are some truly distracted drivers out there.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    Acceleration is about the only saving grace for why I think electric cars are cool. It really is impressive.

    I can’t wait though until electric cars will have the SJW eco warriors going after them for being “energy hogs” if they’re too fast. The new virtue signal will be electric cars that are just golf carts.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      The new eco virtue signal is blasting electric cars because they’re still cars and cars use energy.

    • 0 avatar
      Snooder

      Yeah, the thing is though nobody actually cares about those people.

      We’ve had eco-weenies trying to get everyone to drive penalty box EVs since the mid nineties. Nobody cared. Then Tesla figured how to make EV fast and awesome and now everybody wants a piece.

      Frankly, most people are selfish. They might pay lipservice to helping the environment, but at the end of the day they’ll buy and use what is good.

  • avatar
    Lee in MD

    Speed was important to me when I bought my used 2013 Model S P85 because I enjoy being a “BEV Ambassador”. Others are an ambassador by extolling the virtues of BEVs ad-nauseam to whoever they can corner in the hallway at work. I am an ambassador by silently and easily stomping the guts out of every loud-piped cat-delete RS, AMG, MPower, whatever boy racer who tries to take me on. I figure that out of all of ICE drivers that I’m humiliating at least a few will have that dim bulb go off in their head and realize that their pride and joy is well and truly obsolete. The ones that truly care about street performance over posing will soon make the switch to BEV.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Urban A-holery is one area where BEVs tend to outshine gas cars. Of course, even an old Vespa easily beats both, by simply and elegantly gliding to the front of the pack; getting pole at every urban dragrace…..

      And once you have to drive far enough that something with 4 wheels and a cabin starts tempting, BEVs are simply stuck in a charging line…..

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      Your personal involvement in those so-called ‘victories’ ranks up there with sports fans who say ‘we’ won the super bowl or World Series. Scooter Computer did all the heavy lifting, the 200lb monkey just flipped the switch. Zero driving skills needed. OTOH, the fastest Hellcat (Epling garage) now is in the 7’s, with a MANUAL transmission. Now THAT is a victory earned.

      • 0 avatar
        Lee in MD

        Victory earned blah blah. Until just a couple of years ago, every car I ever owned was a stick, the last ones being a 2010 Mustang GT with a 5 speed and a tune and an ’86 BMW 535i that I restored myself. They just don’t get the job done anymore in real world driving situations. I’m 52 years old, but the nostalgia trip just ain’t cuttin’ it any more.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        I think the whole “driver involvement” thing is a justification that sports-car enthusiasts made up for slow cars back in the day. Sure, your Plymouth family wagon can stomp my MG in the Stoplight Grand Prix, but…driver involvement! I have to really WORK to keep that 53 hp tractor engine on the boil!

        How much driver involvement is there really in a modern muscle car? You push the pedal, it goes fast. You like rumbly woofly noises, the Tesla driver likes Jetson spaceship noises. You’re both doing the same thing.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      And with that, Lee in MD reinforces every negative stereotype about Tesla drivers.

      Not much of an achievement, in my book…

      • 0 avatar
        Lee in MD

        And when I had my Ninja 600R way back in the day, I reinforced the crotch rocket stereotype. Then I switched to tuned BMW sedans and reinforced that stereotype for about 15 years. Then I got a Mustang GT and reinforced that stereotype for a year or two before losing interest in furious without the fast ICE vehicles entirely. It’s just how I roll!

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      You shouldn’t street race.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Here’s where the divide between different types of EV buyers shows up – the “save mother Earth” crowd is most concerned about range, while the “damn my electric car is sexy” crowd likes speed and styling. But both of these markets are somewhat niche – the vast middle crowd is the one that needs to be convinced. And the tech that makes the top-shelf EVs go fast is the same tech that will eventually filter down to mass market vehicles, as advanced tech does. The rich folks get the cutting edge stuff first because they can afford it, which pays for all the R&D, and then it becomes economical enough to sell to the mass market. Same thing happened with any number of tech products – computers, big-screen TVS, smartphones, and on and on. It’ll happen with EVs too.

    So, yeah, speed *does* matter, but not in the way Steph’s talking about – it’s more about developing the tech, versus just going fast.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Anything under 3 seconds is so ridiculously fast is just doesn’t matter. A tenth here or there is going to be more dependent on conditions (tires, temperatures) then the mechanical bits. In fact anything under 4 is pretty crazy (my C7 Z51) and under 6 (my previoud 305Z) is plenty quick. Under 6 is my benchmark for fast enough. Years ago I would be thrilled to get anything under 8, but times have changed.

    Does Telsa have an extended range mode where it limits acceleration in an effort to prioritize range? Or is ludicrous mode what unlocks its maximum acceleration?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      As I recall, the Model 3 I drove, which wasn’t the top-spec dual motor model, had a selectable “range mode” and “performance mode”. There was a noticeable performance difference, but it wasn’t earth-shaking. The car’s still darn quick in range mode.

      But what’s most noticeable is the way the car performs – the power’s all on instantly, no waiting, no drama. Boom, you’re going fast. It’s remarkable, if a touch sterile.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        You don’t need a 4 sec 0-60 to accomplish this. My Bolt feels exactly that way and its 0-60 is in the high sixes or low sevens depending on who you ask.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I haven’t driven a Bolt, but I imagine the power delivery is similar, just in a slower car. Honestly, it’s kind of addictive – rationally, I knew the Tesla was no quicker than my car, but the driving experience was very different. I see why people dig it…and I see why others might not.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      The Tesla Model S has at least three acceleration modes of which Ludicrous is the quickest. I believe it has, in descending order, Ludicrous, Sport, Normal and Economy modes–but I’m not absolutely certain of that.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    At 50 I’m trying to not be the grumpy old guy who longs for the good old days. I’m actually all for progress and don’t have any issue with EV cars right now except price and range.
    The only thing that I don’t like about them is their inherent silence. Growing up my friends and I were all into muscle cars and to this day I still crane my neck when I hear the rumble of a big 350 with headers. (Although most of the time it ends up being an old pick-up, but it still sounds great!).

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      The biggest issue I have with greenie mobiles of all types is the attempt to force them down our throats. Im all in for muscle cars but if those were being forced onto people who don’t want them I’d have the same stance.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’d be curious who is shoving EVs down your throat, and how that’s happening.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        If you actually try to buy an EV, you discover that far from being “forced down your throat” you have to make quite an effort, especially if you don’t want a Tesla.

        Most dealers don’t want to sell EVs because they bring in lower service revenue. In big metros with blue politics there is usually a dealer somewhere who specializes in them and will do the right thing for you (like the Chevy dealer from which I bought my Bolt, which isn’t the closest to my house by a long shot). If you live anywhere else, you’re going to have to make some effort to convince a dealer to sell you one at all, or at a reasonable price.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I suspect the guy’s actual objection is what he perceives as a change in the market – it’s going away from the kinds of cars he likes toward something he doesn’t. Thus, the change is being “forced” on him. Not all that different than the way a lot of us feel about CUVs, when you get down to it. But I don’t presume to speak for him.

    • 0 avatar
      duncanator

      Thanks for writing a post that mirrors my thoughts. I’ve been wanting a Challenger or Charger Scat Pack, but after driving the Model 3, I was enticed by the lack of maintenance and better fuel economy (or lack) for my commute. The sound Mustang GT350 or Hellcat still turns my head, but it doesn’t fit my everyday needs.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      ” … don’t have any issue with EV cars right now except price and range”

      And other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

      Ultimately, I just don’t care. I don’t find any automatic transmission vehicle enjoyable to drive, and since electrics are by definition automatics (usually), I haven’t enjoyed any of them. They cost too much for what they currently are, and I don’t drive enough to care.

      I also don’t find them silent by any stretch. They ALL make annoying high-pitched whining noises. But I am one of those people how can’t stand the noise that CRTs make – I am that odd 50-something whose hearing still works properly for high frequencies. And I would rather listen to an IC motor doing it’s thing than wind and tire roar. Though I have never cared for the sound of most V8s either. They just sound cheap and unrefined.

  • avatar
    pinkslip

    ” It’s unlikely those in the market for a non-luxury EV were all that concerned about acceleration back in 2011 or 2012, or whenever it was.

    Has anything changed?”

    Yeah: the kinds of people now in the market for a non-luxury EV.

    Non-luxury vehicles get the benefit of trickle-down technology and (to a lesser extent) performance from the high-end market. If EVs were to be relegated to “slow, but it’s fine, because it’s just an EV”, then widespread interest- and therefor adoption- would never happen.

    Sure, 2.4 vs 2.6 seconds 0-60 is for ultimate bragging rights. But it also shows how much fun EVs can be to people who previously only knew of the first gen Leaf.

    The Leaf is the fanny-pack of cars. It served a practical purpose for those who were okay with its intended purpose and limits. But, even when it was new, it wasn’t cool.

  • avatar
    RangerM

    Given that these cars weigh as much as (if not more than) an F150, I suppose it’s impressive.

    I’d wonder if these overweight (as compared to cars of similar size) cause measurably more wear on the roads.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      They do. Compared to heavy trucks and service vehicles, it may not matter that much in many areas. But grippy tires, high weight and lots of power, do add meaningfully to road wear.

      As well as to particulate emissions into the air from interfacing between softer tires and the more quickly worn road surface. The latter likely being a bigger contributor to air quality issues, than tailpipe emissions from clean gas engines by now…..

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        I live next to a freeway. I wish it were full of EVs. An EV eliminates most of the noise, all of the tailpipe emissions, and most of the brake pad particulates. It doesn’t get rid of particulates from tire wear, and EVs weigh more so that could be an issue…but if everyone and their brother shifts from a 3400 pound Equinox to a 3800 pound Niro EV, I’m still breathing easier and longer.

  • avatar
    Jon

    Lets not overthink it. They should go fast enough to keep up with traffic and vehicles of similar dimensions and weight.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Acceleration is a top 3 buying consideration for me on any brand new vehicle whether it be a sports sedan, a BEV, a truck, or a minivan.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Gas or electric, 0-60 is an outdated and pointless measure of acceleration in the days of launch control or Ludicrous mode.

    1/4 mile trap speed and 60-130 acceleration are much more informative measures of how fast a car is in the real world, not a picture perfect magazine test.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @jack4x: Except for those who don’t purchase such launch modes but still need the power to get to road speed quickly. Launch modes are for racing but 0-60 represents how quickly you can get to highway speed. The average today is between 4-5 seconds and you’d be surprised at how many people use that. You’d also be surprised at how many people are afraid to drive today and take much, MUCH longer, even when their car is perfectly capable of keeping up with traffic.

      And no, that “trap speed” is not a good indicator as anyone relying on those tends to be more of a hazard on the highway than the slow ones… as demonstrated by multiple crashes caused by such drivers on I-95 through Maryland and Delaware over the last couple of months… one such driver killed when he tried to pass a truck on the right… as the truck was moving into the right hand lane to get out of the way of faster traffic. Truck ran over the car and ended up on its side, blocking all three lanes and both shoulders of the northbound side.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Trap speed tells me the power to weight ratio of the car, and does so much more accurately than any timed measurement.

        I don’t need to drive 125 mph on the highway to know that a car with a 125 mph trap speed is fast. Or that a car with an 80 mph trap speed is going to be pretty slow compared to typical traffic.

        But two cars with a 4.0 0-60 time can be much different in practical speed, if one is relying on launch control or a 5000 RPM clutch dump to hit that time, and the other can do it effortlessly.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          “But two cars with a 4.0 0-60 time can be much different in practical speed, if one is relying on launch control or a 5000 RPM clutch dump to hit that time, and the other can do it effortlessly.”

          — Yeah. The EV does it effortlessly.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The average is not 4-5 seconds. 4-second cars are exceptionally quick. The average is somewhere between your typical compact CUV and a big-motor FWD sedan, so probably a bit over seven seconds.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          And if you factor in average car sold as opposed to average car available on a configurator, that number probably climbs to the high sevens or eights. On the road, your base I4 FWD sedans greatly outnumber your big motor (which I think of as 3.5 V6’s or 2.0T I4’s) FWD sedans.

          Now I’ll grant you, 4.5 seconds 0-60 is probably average in Dominic Toretto’s world.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Say what? 0-60 is something we actually do in the real world. Heck, 40-80 is something we do in the real world when we need to pass overloaded 18-wheelers and slow-merging grannies. But 60-130 is something we do approximately never, unless we’re on the track or looking for an overnight stay in jail.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        To each their own.

        Some of us live where there are still open roads, and some of us actually do take our cars to the track. I use 60-130 a lot more often than a brake torque/clutch dump/launch control enabled magazine hero 0-60 run. 5-60 is more representative of a stoplight getaway and I do find some value in those times when they are published.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    To answer the headline question: Yes, I do care. Oh, I don’t care that much about its top speed, as long as it is no less than 100mph, but I certainly don’t need or even really want a higher top speed… I’d be perfectly happy with a governor to prevent speeds over 100mph, no matter how much horsepower (equivalent) the motors may offer.

    What I do need is acceleration. I need the ability to merge with 60-75mph traffic on the freeway… especially where on-ramps are so short that the average ICEV can’t even reach that highway speed and end up being the cause (not always involved) of a major chain-reaction crash. Horsepower and torque are necessary to handle modern traffic conditions–as well as strong braking capability. But three-digit top speeds are not. Few drivers ever exceed 80-90mph except on very specific highways and even there the number of those pushing those higher speed limits is low.

    So acceleration power? Yes. Top speeds? No.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Anyone who thinks a gen 1 leaf is painfully slow missed the malaise era and heck, even the 90’s and early 2000’s. Just went to lunch in a buddy’s Pontiac Vibe. 0-60 in like 10 seconds and sounds like it is going to fly apart. They aren’t bad to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Partially agree. The Leaf 1.0 would hit 60 in 10 seconds – that’s not so slow. The author’s incorrect that this is one of the slowest cars he’s driven.

      Malaise-era cars were in the 12 to 15-second range.

      My Ioniq EV is rated for 0-60 in 9 seconds, I think. It’s just fine for what I need.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        I was just thinking, yep, Malaise SPORTS cars were in the 12 second range. By 1980 you could buy a Ferrari with a blazing 9.5 second 0-60. Just three years later that was bracketed by much cheaper cars, the Mustang GT at 8.1 and the VW GTI at 10.6.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        In partial defense of Steph, engaging Eco mode on the first-gen Leaf made the vehicle *feel* slow – unless you really put your foot into it.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I really don’t care about fast acceleration from a stop.

    I do want the car to be able to do 60-80 reasonably quickly, including uphill. Freeway driving up mountain passes is where I use the most power, far more than I do in any situation where I’m starting from a dead stop.

    Ideally the weight-to-power ratio should be no worse than about 15:1 (both of my current cars are just a bit worse), and the car should have reasonably good aerodynamics.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    I am not sure which topic generates the most debate amongst enthusiasts: The value of electric cars or the relative quality of motor oils?

    • 0 avatar
      Lee in MD

      Ha! When BEVs are the rule rather than the exception what will we be able to argue about? The relative merits of various windshield washer fluid formulations? The brand of charger installed in your garage? Pine scented vs. fruit scented car fresheners? It’ll be the end of us all!

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    First off, I come from a different generation than Steph, and I can say that the first generation LEAF didn’t see that slow. It still has a sub 10 second 0-60 time, and that’s much quicker than the cars I started with back in the 70’s.

    I don’t see what the obsession is with acceleration for non-sporty cars. My daily ride is a Fusion with the PHEV drivetrain. Car and Driver tells me that the 0-60 time on my car when it is on battery power only is close to 15 seconds. The Fusion has a lot of detailed instrumentation, and I find that in a typical standing start from a traffic light I use somewhere between 40% and 60% of the available EV torque. Driving conditions don’t require or allow all that much acceleration, regardless of what fuel source provides it.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Don’t care. Can’t plug in where I live, and despite what some zealots say, not being able to charge while I sleep makes any electric vehicle a no-go for me.

  • avatar
    retrocrank

    I’m not thinking about an EV, so moot point. If I were, it would be because there’s no longer gas to put in my TC or VW. That would be a really sad day.
    The fact I’m happy with those cars already answers the question about acceleration.

    The thing is this: “Make America Green Again” is a bumper sticker, in my experience usually seen on a Prius, Scooby, or some sort of hybrid SUV (I’m guessing the Tesla owners don’t yet include the bumpersticker crowd). Makes no sense. ICEs and BEVs both exact environmental costs out of proportion to the individual and so are hardly “green”…it takes a lot of energy to amplify human capabilities, whether or not the sun has turned it into buried carbon first. First, there’s the hypocrisy – claims advocating greenism are really only plausible if coming from people not in or on an automotive device. Second, America was never really “green.” Even the rural agrarians took down forests, dammed up streams, and drained wetlands.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      It’s a myth that EV drivers are environmentalists by default, or are trying to save the planet, or are trying to save money. I’m none of those things, and I vote R.

      But the EV driving and ownership experience is pretty nice – linear and instant throttle response are at the top for me, along with quiet driving.

      And here’s the maintenance I’ve done on my Ioniq EV in 11k miles of driving: 2 tire rotations, in my driveway. I haven’t even added window wash fluid in the first 10 months. At $30/month, I can’t complain about the operating costs, but you rarely save money by buying an extra car.

      • 0 avatar
        retrocrank

        The available evidence suggests the linkage is not at all mythical. Population studies are just that – they report on populations but don’t say anything about your personal motivations, which obviously were other than environmental.
        I’ve looked for the specific methods and results for the biggest trial I know of, the Consumers, Vehicles and Energy Integration (CVEI) project; only find talking head reports. I don’t know if that study asked about motivations, but from what I’ve seen of it in news reports, it approached participants from the standpoint that EVs were a necessary future – a biased point of view. I’ve found nothing from that study reporting reasons why participants would buy an EV. Bigerna and Micheli, Sustainability 2018, 10, 3999; doi:10.3390/su10113999, compared young and old people (students/faculty) and climate was the only consistent driver across both groups. And, while just a (nonscientific) pole, a recent Harris pole showed 73 percent of EV drivers agree with the statement that their EV makes them feel better about making less environmentally conscious decisions in other areas of life. That sounds like the EV choice was made out of environmental awareness, albeit not in the direction that would seem obvious.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Well, if the EV mfrs are relying on consumers to care about the environment, then they have a serious marketing hill to climb.

          That Harris poll is interesting, and I think it translates into other areas of life. People commonly perform some ‘good’ behavior as a means of offsetting ‘bad’ behavior – flawed thinking that all humans are prone to console themselves with.

          • 0 avatar
            retrocrank

            I agree on both counts. I interpret what’s been reported so far to mean that climate concerns (directly or indirectly) will drive a segment of the population to make the switch. But there will be a large segment of the population who doesn’t care. And a very small segment like me who enjoy old ICEs but make daily utility transport on foot or bicycle (I do in part to avoid paying a gym to stay somewhat fit, and because I do think that the human biologic epidemic engaged in profligate energy use cannot end well). While I guess it could be rationalization, I don’t think my “non-car” use offsets my old car enjoyment, I’m just not such a hardass that I’m willing to give up something really pleasurable. Like beer and scotch, they have their appropriate time and place.

            The CVEI is an English study, and from what I’ve read they approached subjects as if EVs are a foregone conclusion, which I can see as an acceptable possibility in the UK and Yurp. My opinion is that the same thing will have to happen here before there is mass defection from ICE to BEV. I don’t know how well-tolerated that will be, esp. with the coalroller crowd.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    10 seconds to 60 is more than fast enough for me, as long as the car is entertaining to drive. I am much more interested in going fast around corners than in a straight line.

    So no, I really could not care less about extreme acceleration. Just seems like a waste to me. If the performance was lower, the car could be more optimized for efficiency.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The quickest car I’ve ever owned is my 09 minivan (0-60 in 8 seconds), but I believe the quickest car I’ve ever driven is a Model S P85.

    Nissan generated EV interest by showing they were viable for daily use.

    Tesla generated EV interest by showing they can be fun and good-looking as well.

    But nobody has shown that EVs can be sustainably profitable. VW and Ford claim they will do so. Teslas may be incrementally profitable, but they’re spending so much on R&D that it’s hard to say.

    Back to the point, the Bolt seems to bridge the gap on affordable and quick.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    “QOTD: Do You Care One Bit About Electric Vehicle Speed?”

    Sure, why not, it’s something to talk about on the internet. I only have so many subjects I can argue irrationally about.

    Just a couple side notes- Porsche tends to be very conservative on their 0-60 times. I’m betting head to head the Porsche and Tesla are almost identical. I think the real barrier now has become tires. People always talk about the instant torque of electric cars, but my experience is that the nearly perfect traction contol is the mind boggler.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Reading these comments I’m very happy that I didn’t come of driving age in the Malaise Era and I’m very happy I don’t live in a place with traffic.

  • avatar
    TS020

    Speed? I drive a diesel Fiesta, so no. What I care about is the repairability, so for me the 90’s and 00’s were peak car; just enough tech for convenience but not so much the car becomes unusable if something breaks breaks. The first manufacturer that makes a 200-mile EV with analogue gauges, even if just for speed and charge level, gets all my money.

    I’m surprised Bentley, RR, Mercedes, etc haven’t gone aggressively into EV’s for their luxury flagships. EV’s win on weight and interior packaging, and weight isn’t really an issue for the ultra-luxury market.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Nissan has heard you and put an analog speedometer in the current Leaf. I assume an EV’s gauges are digitally driven regardless of how they display, so I don’t really see the point, but…there you go.

  • avatar
    AtoB

    QOTD: Do You Care One Bit About Electric Vehicle Speed?

    No. As long as it hits 60 MPH under 10 seconds can overtake at 75 MPH and hit 90 MPH I’m good.

    Im much more concerned with safety, range (especially for off road applications), charging oppertunities and speed, NVH, roominess, ingress/egress, handling, visibility, comfort,etc.

    Speed is WAY down the list. Sure I’ll take it if its already there but realistically I’ll never use it.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Low center of gravity along with high torque at low rpm’s make BEV’s enjoyable to drive in general.

    I am glad there are super-quick EV’s, but that is not the vehicle I would choose.

    If I were a manufacturer of BEV’s, I would offer a range of options within the same model for acceleration vs. range vs. top speed, by offering the choice of (for example):
    – Smaller/larger drive motors
    – Taller/shorter effective gearing
    – Full-time front motors/selectable rear motors

    And as a customer, I would choose the model that was quick *enough* (0-40 for stoplights, 0-70 for freeway merging, 60-80 for passing) but offered greater range and/or smaller battery size for the same range as more acceleration-oriented models. (Probably smaller battery size in my case, because you reach a point where enough range is enough.)

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I want to see an electrical vehicle I can actually use. A 4×4 pickup with 2,000 lb cargo ratings and a 500 km range would start to get my interest. Oh and not lose any range in -30C weather.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Absolute speed means less than diddly-squat for me. All things being equal, I would drive an electric car if it matches the capabilities of my Mazda, had decent range (250-300 miles), a reasonable charging time and if it looked decent (looks being subjective obviously). I’m sure a Model 3 would be more than adequate, though I don’t know all of its specifics. Also, I’m not sure how electrics do in Minnesota, especially during the winter. They’ve been too expensive or unavailable for me to really research them. The next logical step for my driving needs would be a hybrid of some sort since I rent and can’t necessarily install a charging port.

    Absolute speed means so little to me that I found my 1.9 litre 1993 Escort to be fine for daily driving in 2005.


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