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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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qotd do you care one bit about electric vehicle speed

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Sep 08, 2019

    I want to see an electrical vehicle I can actually use. A 4x4 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.

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Sep 08, 2019

    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.

  • Carsofchaos Bike lanes are in use what maybe 10 to 12 hours a day? The other periods of the day they aren't in use whatsoever. A bike can carry one person and a vehicle can carry multiple people. It's very simple math to figure out that a bike lane in no way shape or form will handle more people than cars will.The bigger issue is double parked delivery vehicles. They are often double parked and taking up lanes because there are cars parked on the curb. You combine that with a bike lane and pedestrians Crossing wherever they feel like it and it's a recipe for disaster. I think if we could just go back to two lanes of traffic things would flow much better. I started coming to the city in 2003 before a lot of these bike lanes were implemented and the traffic is definitely much worse now than it was back then. Sadly at this point I don't really think there is a solution but I can guarantee that congestion pricing will not fix this problem.
  • Charles When I lived in Los Angeles I saw a 9-5 a few times and instanly admired the sweeping low slug aerodynamic jet tech influenced lines and all that beautiful glass. The car was very different from what I expected from a Saab even though the 900 Turbo was nice. A casual lady friend had a Saab Sonnet, never drove or rode in it but nonetheless chilled my enthusiasm and I eventually forgot about Saabs. In the following years I have had seven Mercedes's, three or four Jaguars even two Daimlers both the 250 V-8 and the massive and powerful Majestic Major. Daily drivers of a brand new 300ZX 2+2 and Lincolns, plus a few diesel trucks. Having moved to my big farm in central New York, trucks and SUV's are the standard, even though I have a Mercedes S500 in one of my barns. Due to circumstances with my Ford Explorer and needing a second driver I found the 2006 9-5 locally. Very little surface rust, none undercarriage, original owner, garage kept, wife driver and all the original literature and a ton of paid receipts and history. The car just turned 200,000 miles and I love it. Feels new like I'm back in my Nissan 300ZX with a lot more European class and ready power with the awesome turbo. So fun to drive, the smooth power and torque is incredible! Great price paid to justify going through the car and giving her everything she needs, i.e., new tires, battery, all shocks, struts, control arms, timing chain and rust removable to come, plus more. The problem now is I want to restore it and likely put it in my concrete barn and only drive in good weather. As to the writer, Alex Dykes, I take great exception calling the 9-5 Saab "ugly," finding myself looking back at her beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, I get new looks from others not quite recognizing, like the days out west with my more expensive European cars. There are Saabs eclipsing 300K rourinely and one at a million miles and I believe one car with 500K on the original engine. So clearly, this is a keeper, in love already with my SportCombi. I want to be in that elite club.
  • Marky S. I own the same C.C. XSE Hybrid AWD as in this article, but in Barcelona Red with the black roof. I love my car for its size, packaging, and the fact that it offers both AWD and Hybrid technology together. Visibility is impressive, as is its small turning circle. I consider the C.C. more of a "station wagon" by proportion, rather than an “SUV.” It is fun to drive, with zippy response and perky pick-up. It is a pleasant car to drive and ride in. It is not trying to be a “Butch Off-Roader”, or a cosseting “Luxury Cruiser.” Those are not its goals or purpose. The Corolla Cross XSE Hybrid AWD is a wonderful All-Purpose Car (O.K. – “SUV” if you must hear me say it!) with a combination of all the features it has at a reasonable price.
  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.