Ready to embrace electric cars? You should
CHRISTMAS isn't just a time for overeating and drinking, but also a time to sit down, relax and hopefully switch off from the digital age for a while.
For me that means computer off, TV off and (blessedly) smartphone off, so over the festive period I managed to indulge in the old pastime of reading a magazine. Remember them? Tangible things you had to pay real money for rather than grabbing all your information for free online. Crazy, I know.
I've been buying car magazines for the best part of 25 years, but my quota is down to about six per year now, and these often go unread thanks to work/kids/time constraints. But I stole some decent armchair reading time in December and gorged on my favourite car glossies.
What stood out most was the amount of opinions, articles and news stories on electric vehicles. Sure, I expected some coverage, but it appears that very quickly, electric vehicles (EVs) have become normalised, accepted and often celebrated, especially in countries other than Australia.
There's been a marked shift.
I've always been sceptical - as have many motoring writers - as EVs always seemed something of a step backwards from the internal combustion engine. EVs have less emissions, of course, but have been expensive, heavy, slower, often ugly and with terrible range. Plus, infrastructure has never looked like supporting EVs in a way to make them viable for mass public consumption.
My reading of learned journos from around the world - not least in America and Europe, where the EV revolution is not just the future but already happening - has helped shift my belief that full EVs are both compelling and in many ways highly desirable.
Jay Leno, the American comedian and talk show host - and one of the world's most famous car collectors - wrote in Octane magazine that he'd recently bought a Tesla Model S P90D. You know, the four-door sedan with "Ludicrous Mode" that helps it crack 100kmh in less than three seconds.
We can't all afford such machines, of course, but it's worth listening to those who can and do, as they live with them on a daily basis.
Leno praised the Tesla's performance (naturally), but also the fact it's essentially maintenance-free, has a 420km range, he gets free recharges at numerous charging stations across California and - tellingly - that he didn't feel like an oddball owning and driving one. After all, Tesla claims it sold more than 50,000 vehicles last year.
In addition, many car magazines found Porsche's Mission E concept the most significant development in EV news. Porsche has confirmed its fully electric sports car will go on general sale before decade's end, and while its performance and range merely match Tesla's (for now), the very fact Porsche has been given a billion Euros ($1.55billion) to spend on its Mission E project is hugely significant. Talk about commitment.
Also catching the eye was Jaguar returning to motorsport, but not to F1, Le Mans or GT sportscars. This year Jag enters the all-electric single-seat Formula E championship, suggesting its learnings here will play a huge role in aiding electrification technologies for Jaguar and Land Rover road-going products.
I came away from my electric reading far more convinced for our EV future. And perhaps most importantly, I accepted that in all likelihood a significant chunk of us will be driving around in full electric vehicles in the next decade as they become more mainstream, affordable and better in every area.
Best not to fight it, rather let's get excited by it. As long as we still get to play with V8s, V10s and V12s on the weekends.