So, I’ve been putting this off for way too long. They are emerging and there is no way to ignore them any longer. Much like Thanos in Endgame, they are inevitable…
I am, of course talking about… electric cars. Yes, the hairdryers with steering-wheels. The toasters with seats. The blenders with Google Maps. The pressure-cookers with CD players. Ok, I’ll stop. But I did think of them in that way. However, more and more companies are building their own ones, so people must be buying the bloody things.
These days, almost all the bigger manufacturers are making their own versions – not just Tesla. Audi has the e-Tron, Jaguar has the i-Pace, BMW has the i3, Nissan has the awful Leaf, Porsche has the Taycan with the silly naming strategy and even Mercedes now has the EQC (I’m not going to talk about Ford’s contribution to the mix as an electric Mustang SUV is the stuidest thing I’ve ever heard).
BMW is also playing around with a full-size electric car idea and they built a prototype. It looks exactly like the current 5-Series, however it has 500KW and 10,000NM of torque. No, that’s not a typo. It’s ridiculous and I love it! Like when Chevy stuffed a 7.0L V8 into one of their Sparks.
Going off topic… Electric cars are – apparently – the future. As a petrolhead, this is concerning. Yes, electric cars have more power and more torque than normal petrol/diesel powered cars, but they don’t make any noise. You can’t change gears and the engagement factor is on the lower end of the spectrum. The whole point about being a petrolhead is to engage with your car and be a part of the whole motoring experience. It doesn’t matter if your car is a 30KW Beetle or a 1000KW Koenigsegg – you can enjoy it. ICE cars (Internal Combustion Engine) have character. Electric cars are basically laptops with wheels – literally in the case of the newest Tesla update where you can play a Mario Kart-esque game on the massive central screen.
Now don’t get me wrong. Teslas are cool. The styling is brilliant, the tech is amazing and the P100D Ludicrous+ models are stupid quick. I drove in a Model S in Amsterdam and it was awesome and I sat in a Model X (best windscreen I’ve ever seen) Amman, Jordan, but as with all electric cars, there is one problem with it. That problem is of course – range anxiety. Yes, in first-world countries like the US and most of Western Europe that isn’t such a big problem, as there are chargers and superchargers and stuff at almost every fuel-station. But in less developed countries, like South Africa, electric cars are still a bit ‘out of range’ because of the astronomic prices, charging logistics and – we as a nation don’t like them very much. Yes, Jaguar and BMW are selling their cars here, but it’s really expensive and only the rich can afford to buy one. I mean, South Africans haven’t even really accepted the Hybrid as a car yet. Lexus tried to change that with their range of hybrids, but have slightly given up on that as well. The only hybrid people buy here is the bloody-awful Prius. (There is one living down the street and I have to drive past it every day. My hatred for it is much like that for the Juke – screaming obscenities at it).
Then we get to the subject of supercars and hypercars. The electrification virus has infected them in spectacular fashion with cars such as the Rimac Concept-1 and the new Lotus Evija. More and more hypercars are also going the hybrid route such as the LaFerrari, P1, 918 Spyder and more recently, the Valkyrie, the AMG ONE and the new SF90 Stradale. It seems then that electrification – in one way or another – is the future.
Well, if this is the case, then I should probably choose one. I thought long and hard about this and I decided that if I ever had the money to afford of these SatNav-equipped dishwashers, I would buy a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. It is exactly the opposite of an electric car. It uses so much petrol that even the Americans say ‘it’s a bit thirsty’. But is has a Hellcat engine and a supercharger whine that gives me special feelings in my nether regions. It is also practical, meaning you can scare the absolute crap out of your entire family and your dog at once.
As an afterthought, James May recently bought a Tesla Model S 100D and a Toyota Mirai. His guess is that one of these two technologies could be the future – either fully electric like the Tesla, or Hydrogen Fuel-Cell-mated-to-electric-motors like the Toyota. It is quite the interesting experiment and I am looking forward to his continued videos on them.