The Nissan Leaf

Plug-In 2012 Final Thoughts For Plug In Cars

The end of Plug-In 2012 draws on some obvious conclusions, we need to have more people try electric cars, period.

Funny you should mention, but it seems this is what we have been saying for the better part of these last years. You can’t describe the torque of an electric motor. You can only experience it.

A Little About Me. I was surrounded by 1920 and 30s Bugatti, Alfa Romeo and other Italians. My first recollection was the tail end of a Bugatti and at 6 years of age, it leaves a pretty indelible imprint in a young mind. So when Chelsea Sexton was exuding the virtues of the pretty little Tesla Roadster in 2006 at the Long Beach Grand Prix, I looked at it with little interest. After all, it was just an electric car and if the proportions were correct, where is the fun in it? It wouldn’t vibrate, have no smell and worse of all, have no gears to select. Where is the fun in that?

Chelsea then understood that selling the green virtues of the car wouldn’t work. She then said two things that changed my minds, that no BMWs could keep up with her EV1 at a green light and she changed her tires every 5,000 miles. Right then, she had my full attention and I decided to look into this intriguing technology.

AC Propulsion’s eBox. My first electric car, EV encounter was AC Propulsion’s stellar job at converting a Scion into an EV. The eBox was amazing, although pricey at that time, could do 140 miles and had plenty of cargo space. It was then I understood and felt the direct response of an electric motor in a well engineered car.

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Tesla Motors’ Roadster. A friend of mine insisted a few weeks later I drive his Tesla Roadster. He didn’t have to insist much, I gladly accepted. That was probably the most Zen fun I’ve ever had in a car. Powerful yet perfectly civilized, the Roadster is the uber EV. I drove in traffic feeling very Zen, pushed it at 75 and opened it to see if it had more to offer. And it did. But the real test was from a standstill, flooring it at the bottom of a 25% hill and feeling amusement park ride in my stomach.

It was then I realized two things. Modern electric motors have no problems with hills. And, you can’t argue the benefits of an electric car. You have to drive one to get it. Yes, we can talk about how much tailpipe emissions are removed when you drive an electric car, even taking into consideration producing more electricity. The real trick is to go out to see what the big fuss is about.

As to the Plug-In 2012, it can be summed up as follows, get people to try electric cars. Marketing is the next revolution that needs to happen. Bashing “range anxiety” to sell plug-in hybrids doesn’t work either. More education needs to happen at every level; mechanics, dealerships and of course potential buyers. Finally, the real crucial part of electric car mass adoption is establishing a coherent the charging network.