Saying you don’t like Electric Vehicles is risky business in this day and age. With Global warming and our environmental footprint in the spotlight more than ever, it is akin to saying you support Donald Trump.
“What do you mean? Don’t you care about global warming you heartless B*****d?! Well yes, I suppose I do. But I like internal combustion engines more. But before you grab your pitchforks and knock down my front door in the name of all that is green – let me elaborate…
Besides the argument everyone has heard already about how much energy is required to manufacture the batteries for a Toyota Prius or that you can only drive your electric shoebox 200 kilometres before having to plug it into a wall for 12 hours. The Internal combustion engine kickstarted an entire industry that boomed through the 20th century and well into the 21st (an Industry that also keeps me employed, more to the point).
It’s more than just an engine and an industry, the Petrol engine captivated man’s imagination from the get-go. As soon as cars were available to the public we were racing them, modifying them and having outings and events celebrating their existence.
They began as a status symbol, available only to the wealthy and not much more useful than a horse and cart. The ownership of an automobile was reserved for the privileged few. Coach builders emerged like Carrozzeria Touring and Chapron who would create whatever the client envisioned from sheetmetal and wood for a hefty price. These cars were a form of art in their own right.
Such innocent beginnings were ripe for innovation and from it arose the automotive heroes to which we owe the cars of today.
Enzo Ferrari, The Agnelli’s, F.A Porsche, Mr Daimler and Mr Benz were pioneers of the automobile who expanded on this original idea and dared to push what could be achieved.
They were a symbol of freedom through the 1950’s as old wrecked cars became common and a clapped out ford was obtainable to the young generation. The abundance of worn out, obsolete, cars gave birth to the Hot Rodding culture that survives now, never before could a teenager have such freedom available at the turn of a key.
From the Muscle Cars of the 70’s and early 80’s, beautiful european classic’s of the 60’s, and today’s ultra-efficient, small capacity, turbocharged hot hatches they all shared a common ground – the petrol engine. Car culture has many cliques and factions within itself now but we all gather around that one campfire.
The Electric Vehicle no matter how efficient or quick, good looking or luxurious they make them will simply never have the same rich history, charm or significance. The Electric Vehicle will only ever appeal to those who view a car as nothing more than transport from A to B. Though never has that been all it is. Similar to the uncle who has gone a little mad in his retirement but is as charming as ever, You never want to see them go and they hold a special place in our history.
Next time you start your 2014 Ford Fiesta without a choke and drive to work with the cruise control and AC on, consider the 100+ years of dare and innovation that brought that car to be.
The age of the Electric Vehicle will eventually come whether I like it or not. The petrol engine will become a relic and I will eventually be forced to stop swimming against the tide. Though you can bet that I will be the last person driving around in a carburettored car and when that time comes they’ll have to pry my Alfa keys from hands.