Buy one and you can say to heck with Abu Dhabi’s $90 per barrel light Murban crude. But short of rigging some sort of electronic replacement, electric automobiles will never have one thing.
The entire lineup -- no matter the manufacturer -- will never offer the throaty response of a Mopar, the finessed rumble of a GM Corvette V8 or even the riotous recoil of a hopped-up tuner. The really fast electrics do let out a kind of whine at the command of a floored accelerator, but I prefer the dual-carbed Super Beetle in my backyard. That meat-and-potatoes air-cooled roar alerts my dogs of my arrival a block from home.
This concept crosses my mind as the electric automobile finally crosses the threshold in the arms of Joe Consumer. Let the wedding begin. Whether the marriage will be a happy one or fall apart after a rough weekend in Vegas is anybody's guess.
Boulder, Colo.-based Pike Research said that union will be far from blissful with consumers having to accept the bad times with the good if they expect it to work. The 14-page study published this week said most people who drive electrics won't own them but be driving a fleet car and predicted that the media is likely to overreact when someone somewhere has a bad EV experience.
The rest of Pike's 10 predictions were push-back developing over charging times, arrival of start-stop technology (at stop lights to save power), charging stations going idle, emergence of fuel-cell vehicles, advanced battery development, range anxiety becoming more myth than fact, two-wheel EVs outselling cars and a drop in electric component pricing.
"Electric two-wheeled vehicles, including bicycles, scooters and motorcycles, comprise a huge global market that will continue to overshadow electric passenger vehicles for the foreseeable future," wrote senior analyst John Gartner and Pike President Clint Wheelock.
After going over their conclusions, I tried to imagine what the roads will look like by 2015 when Gartner and Wheelock say annual EV sales will surpass 300,000 units. Certainly more diverse.
But the highways may have some hydrogen-powered cars and other alternative fuel vehicles. Natural gas may wind up a decent competitor when domestic drillers find a measurable way to avoid disturbing underground aquifers with new fractal extraction techniques.
Hopefully automotive designers will stop making cars for Hello Kitty and produce something noteworthy. Although I must admit the Camaro, Mustang and Challenger meet coolness requirements. But they're supposed to.
The majority of the models from U.S. and Japanese manufacturers (I'm talking gas-burners) look pretty vanilla in a weirdly rounded way. I just hope they take a lesson from Tesla and kit-car Sigma when producing the next generation of electrics.
Go for just a smidgen of cool. Then along with the eco-badge, EV owners can retain just a bit of respect from the fossil fuel folks.