- It's called MIDNIGHT PORT RED, I've decided

I've now driven 3 EVs. Here's why I think you're all wrong but also right

A rambling missive that sums up where I'm at with electric vehicles

10w ago

The first thing to note is my previous position on EVs has not been militant - so if you were expecting some predictable Damascus road conversion story here, some cliched "I DROVE AN EV AND IT CHANGED/BLEW MY MIND" tale, I... am actually glad I disappoint. The world has too many of these epistles already, written by people who genuinely think there's been no loss of profundity.

A few years ago I argued that it was perfectly okay for car enthusiasts to prefer petrol power. I related how I, a car enthusiast, platonically love cars from the 1930s most. However I felt that being militantly against electric cars was only going to leave car enthusiasm in the past. We'd be like those smelly train enthusiasts who only love "ole girl locomotives" and can't even nod at a TGV. Technology moves on. Transport moves on. Golden days pass, if they were even golden days. We remain human, however - and to awe, and to be thrilled, and excited, is human.

This is a quote not because I feel I have said anything particularly apt but because I need to break up the text a bit

John Coleman

I also admire EV technology - there are definite technical and practical advantages, the tech continues to improve; necessity being the mother of invention. I don't know if EVs are the end goal in motoring. I don't know if we're rushing in too completely. I do know that they're not a step backwards.

So this has been my theoretical thinking on electric cars, before I'd tried one. But in the last year I've driven three - a Tesla Model 3 Performance, a Volvo XC40 Electric, and most recently, a Porsche Taycan 4S. It's time to assess where I'm at.

Mine were only quick spins - I didn't try living with any of them. But it's also not relevant. Plenty of pundits bang on about range and infrastructure like we're not in transition. If I put this article in Drafts for another 5 minutes, Tesla will have opened its Supercharger network to all brands, Toyota, who arguably creates the world's most live-with-able cars, will have announced they're now going to make EVs, and who knows? The average EV range might have gone up another 100kms.

Nah, for petrolheads these issues are smokescreens. We hate EVs because we feel they rob us of driving enjoyment. So, quick spins it is.

I can't believe I forgot a watch

I can't believe I forgot a watch

And I'd recommend any EV-hater actually drive one. Fun is to be had. I found myself taking each car down to standstill on the freeway and accelerating to 100, increasingly addicted. The power is as instant as my coffee. They're heavier than an ICE counterpart, but they accelerate through a roundabout like a deft missile.

However, I actually did find that the power is too ready, too quietly delivered, to be an actual thrill beyond the G-force of it. Is it me hunkering for a slow car fast experience? Or is it just because you legitimately spend most of your drive desperately trying to shave off speed you gathered because you adjusted the air-conditioner. You're driving along, silently, at 80 - then next minute the digits are at 100. Speed isn't a thrill. It's genuinely an accident, officer.

This did put upon me that we can't very well keep reducing speed limits globally, as we transition to cars that make speeding as natural and imperceptible as heart beating. We're all going to be bad people, even as we're being very good people.

More significantly, doesn't it prove every enthusiast's fear about EVs? Yes, the technology is impressive, maybe even better. Or heading there, anyway. The performance is undeniable. But isn't it all a bit clinical? Wouldn't driving a Kia Stinger GT be more fun than driving a Porsche Taycan?

Yes. But even if we leave aside Porsche's tack of exploring synthetic fuels for enthusiast vehicles - or even the fact that most of us daily a Mazda hatch complete with driver aids, not a Caterham, without there being some inherent petrolhead castration in that clear compromise - the question is, can a car enthusiast smile like the fool he inherently is, in an EV?

I did. And given I'm Generation Z? I sort of feel like the future of motoring enthusiasm.


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Comments (75)

  • Yes, I have driven several. I drove three Teslas: two model S-es, one being a P85D and, a year or so later, a P100D. Recently I took a spin in a Model 3. I drove a BMW i3 as well.

    Can you have fun in them? Absolutely! Especially the top-of-the-line Model S is impressive. They are incredibly fast right off the mark, but enough has been said about that. I'm not going to repeat, uh, every single person who ever drove an EV. They're also very quiet, no surprise there. But again, no need to repeat what everybody already knows.

    Do I think they are a viable alternative for ICE cars? By now, yes- mostly. If you're in a densely populated city, or close to one, the charging infrastructure is probably there. If you're in a rural area, this may not be true, and I can imagine having an EV with limited range would be more of a hassle. Still, as a runabout it should suffice.

    But, and this is the petrolhead in me speaking... Do I think they are as much fun as petrol-powered cars? Definitely not. While EVs are unmatched in acceleration, having fun in a car is not limited to that. There is something about taking a light and agile car down a mountain road, or a track, and throwing it around. There is something about shifting down, manually of course, hitting your apex, coming out of the corner and continuing on your way full-throttle with an ICE singing out in joy. There is something about that complete experience that seems to be missing in an EV.

    Can an EV match an ICE in terms of practicality and live-with-ability? For the most part, yes, I think they can. But that's mostly what they are- a practical means of transportation, a way of getting from A to B. Sometimes in a fun way, too- there's no denying.

    Can it match an ICE in terms of fun? I think not. The fun that can be had in an EV is too onedimensional to fully replace the ICE. But, to be fair, EVs have come a long way in the past 10 to 15 years. Who knows how much they will have improved in another decade or so.

      2 months ago
    • "a practical means of transportation, a way of getting from A to B. Sometimes in a fun way, too- there's no denying"

      This, I feel, is what cars have mostly been, since the beginning. Sure, once upon a time we all manually gear-changed. Same...

      Read more
        2 months ago
    • There was a lot of resistance from enthusiasts when brands phased out their manuals, and by now the automatic has become the standard in everything above mid-tier cars- and 95% of people aren't complaining anymore. The automatic...

      Read more
        2 months ago
  • You’re old enough to drive?

      2 months ago
  • I haven't driven one. The closest I have been to experiencing EV is riding in a Rav-4 that reverses under EV power. Silent. There aren't many EV's here yet. I would like to get behind the wheel of one. As an enthusiast the idea intrigues me. We have to stop dumping carbon into the atmosphere somehow. Are EV's the end game? Doesn't matter. They are here, now. Like them or not they are happening. It's change. Some deal well with change while others do not. That's all. It's the human experience. I prefer the glorious sound of ICE. But ICE is headed out to pasture. Time to move on.

      2 months ago
    • Correct, and I don't think we even need to resolve to like them. It doesn't have to be a struggle.

      Yeah, they're definitely not broadly accepted here - seeing a Tesla Model 3 is still a bit rare, albeit becoming far more common.

        2 months ago

    I bump your article just for that

      2 months ago
  • This isn’t a particularly popular view these days but… we are actually allowed to have NEUTRAL opinions on things. I know, hard to believe.

    People who say “all EVs are s**t” are wrong,

    And people who call world-burning monsters those who are a bit skeptical about EVs are also wrong.

    And they’re both seriously wrong,

    Sorry I posted a ranty comment on your ranty article, I’m gonna have a ranty beer now

      2 months ago