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

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]

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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.

  • Dennis Howerton Nice article, Cory. Makes me wish I had bought Festivas when they were being produced. Kia made them until the line was discontinued, but Kia evidently used some of the technology to make the Rio. Pictures of the interior look a lot like my Rio's interior, and the 1.5 liter engine is from Mazda while Ford made the automatic transmission in the used 2002 Rio I've been driving since 2006. I might add the Rio is also an excellent subcompact people mover.
  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
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