Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It’s half past four and I’m shifting gear

Actually I’m not, and therein lies part of the problem.  As the proud owner of an ActiveE, there are many things that I love about this car, and other things that I wish reflected it being the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’.  It’s great for everything that it was designed to be – it has a high enough charge rate so that you can charge from ‘empty’ in 4-5 hours with a 240V EVSE.  Its range is 100 miles (although some folks have approached 140 miles on a charge) which is high enough to meet typical driving needs for most people – and the number will only increase once EVSE infrastructure has increased.  And most importantly, it eliminates gas dependency (and in doing so costs a lot less per mile to drive, and significantly reduces emissions versus an ICE while using less electricity in the process).

Most of the ‘issues’ (as I see them anyway) have to do with the performance aspects of the vehicle.  And most of these are a result of it being an ICE platform that was retrofitted to be an EV.  Its handling is ok as a result of it weighing as much as an Abrams Tank.  Ok, not really, but it does weigh about as much as a Jeep Liberty.  The elevated curb weight is due to the need for structural reinforcement necessary when removing a combustion engine and adding batteries that need protection – and you can really feel the extra weight in corners and on bumpy roads.  As an EV, it’s got plenty of torque to get off the line quickly, but it would never be confused with the performance of an ICE sports coupe. 

None of these ‘issues’ give me any pause, however.  The next generation of Project i will have eliminated the performance issues as those cars will be ‘born’ electric.  Even if these performance issues weren’t addressed, after having the ActiveE for just 5 weeks I know that I will always have an EV in my driveway from this point forward.
There is one area of EVs that I will always struggle with though.  In the almost 30 years that I’ve been driving I’ve never had a daily driver that didn’t have a manual transmission.  While most Americans have been buying cars with automatic transmissions for decades, I’ve never been able to make the switch.  For me there’s something magical about connection between car and driver with manual transmissions that doesn’t exist with an automatic that adds to the sheer pleasure of driving a car.  While the ActiveE is fun to drive, I can’t help but miss shifting gears.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps my prayers will be answered!