To start, I’d like to make it very clear that “I get it.” Electric vehicles are cleaner, greener and, while there is some debate, these vehicles are generally considered to be more efficient. Now, with the introduction of autonomous cars, vehicles are becoming more comfortable for the passengers by allowing them to relax while on their journey and not have to focus on driving.
In theory, this is great. Commuters everywhere will enjoy a little extra free time during their drive to and from the office. However, once you start thinking about everything you do with your vehicle other than driving from point A to point B on a daily basis, you realize what the sacrifice will be.
More Than a Commute
Personally and professionally, I enjoy working on cars, customizing them, and making them my own. I also enjoy loading up my truck to head out to the desert and go off-roading, dirt biking or shooting. Then, there is the feeling of jumping into a high horsepower, highly modified Camaro, Mustang, or Z and having some fun rowing through the gears or finding a windy road and feeling the tires grip and the car pushing hard. Every car enthusiast, outdoors man, or even the average person who enjoys driving will agree our cars are more than just a way to get from one destination to another. Every car guy I know parks their car and looks back at least once while they walk away. We aren’t checking to see if our coffee was left on the roof. We’re not checking to see if we remembered to turn off our headlights. We’re just checking…We’re eyeballing our car because it just looks that good and we want to keep looking at it.
This passion can not be described. It can not be explained. It’s just something that you either have, or you don’t. Every automotive enthusiast is an artist in their own way. Getting across their own expression, their own inspiration. This is something that can not be deciphered by an algorithm or through some flow chart.
Electric Vehicles: Savior of High Performance Vehicles?
A few years ago, I saw an episode of Top Gear UK where James May was driving the Honda hydrogen powered concept production car. During his test drive, he met with the unofficial car-guy poster boy, Jay Leno. Mr. Leno had an incredibly insightful and optimistic view on the future of automobiles for gear heads. Alternative fuel vehicles are actually the savior of the high performance vehicles. Prior to cars people used horses for transportation. As cars became more prevalent and more affordable this saved the horse. Now, the horse is seen as a creature of beauty, something to be treated with the utmost respect and care.
The utopian thought is that perhaps electric vehicles and/or autonomous cars will preserve the performance and enthusiast vehicles we currently enjoy. The Tesla P85D and later P100D certainly were steps in this direction – a few outliers like the Tango EV have focused on delivering blistering performance as well as the practicality of an EV. These are early examples but a step in the right direction.
As technology moves us closer to a day where commuters have electric vehicles and autonomous cars as a commuting option, remember the feeling of freedom that’s tied to your car. What I am suggesting, is this:
Continue innovating with new technologies, but preserve the good tires that allow you to enjoy putting a car through its paces on a windy road. Preserve the gasoline that helps create the horsepower that provides the thrill of the drive for those of us who like to get our blood pumping. Preserve the suspension upgrades that allow you to get off the highways and city streets to go off-roading. Preserve these magnificent vehicles for those of us who enjoy our cars. To us, they are not a just a tool that provides us away to get from one destination to another, but are an extension and expression of ourselves.
With all that being said, you’ll never find an electric or autonomous car in my garage. Long live the internal combustion engine!