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Friday, September 23, 2016

Yes, Electric is Faster than Gas

You can talk about something all day, but sometimes a single demonstration speaks louder.

Image via Flickr by andyrusch

Driving home last night, I see a tuned BMW next to a Hummer at a red light ahead of me. The driver is revving his boosted German engine.

"Please let me get a chunk of that BMW," I say to myself.

The light turns green and the BMW pulls away from the Hummer. I maneuver into the left lane behind it as we approach a windy uphill stretch of road. I shift from ECO to D and stab it. I pass him on the right and scoot through the 30 MPH curves at over sixty.

After a few curves and half a minute he's a block behind me. I stop at the next red light and he eventually catches up. The light turns green before he gets there. He's going about fifteen and he punches it. From a dead stop I keep up with him, then back off the accelerator because I actually don't like driving double the speed limit.

He comes to the next light and waits to make a left turn. I'm going straight. He revs the engine and his passenger rolls down the window. I roll down mine.

"Vroom," I say, because my engine doesn't rev.

"Man, you were flying. Is that all electric?"

"Yup."

"Is that new?"

"No. 2011."

"How many horsepower?"

"A hundred and seven." I explain the low center of gravity because of the battery and the instant torque. His buddy was pretty stoked. The lights turned green and we split up. My point was proven.

It was a 2000-something 3 Series with aftermarket suspension and engine mods. The sort of machine a young guy works hard to afford, buy parts for and modify. I couldn't tell much more about it. I went by too fast.

Hopefully the dude in the passenger seat is looking for a car. I made both of them think. There are more ways to power a car than only with fossil fuels. And electric is not only clean and economical. It's fun.

You'll never get people to go alternative-fuel without giving them performance.

The old generation of gear-heads were rebuilding carburetors and reboring cylinders. This generation is tweaking intakes and exhausts in their chipped turbo compacts. The next generation will be ripping the guts from ICE cars, programming controllers and perfecting battery technology.

Image via Flickr by Major Nelson

I had to give my 2011 Nissan Leaf a kiss on the steering wheel. She's is the ultimate sleeper. Quiet under any conditions, but when you're sitting behind your gas engine, you hear nothing. You just see a pearl white blur.

To the young guy putting the doors back on his BMW this morning: That was fun. Keep working with cars and keep an open mind.

And if you're looking for something quick, consider one of these. Remember, the 2011-12 models have more torque than 2013 on.

Please drive safe out there. Respect the speed limit and don't hit anything.

I only drive fast because I'm an EV evangelist and the road is my church.

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