“Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche”
You have to hand it to Elon Musk. He’s not apologising for his latest offering. A 250mph + Tesla Roadster that takes a mere 1.9 seconds to reach 60 miles an hour. It is, in his own inimicable words, ‘A smackdown to gasoline cars’.
No self-effacing eco-worrier here, nursing a Nissan Leaf from charge point to charge point to maximise its range (and reach its destination).
The thing is, he gets it. He gets that the car has been our measure of, and access to, power and speed and innovation for about a hundred years. And whilst we might appreciate quantum physics or the complex and brilliant technology that puts us into space, in a car we get to actually try out cutting edge technology for ourselves. Put our feet on the accelerator and feel the G forces.
Invoking the spirit of speed and the power of the engine, Elon Musk speaks to the people who appreciate driving - the ones who aren’t bothered by a touch screen console, the number of drinks holders or the application of artificial intelligence to self-parking patterns.
A couple of weeks ago I was at the launch of the new Porsche Panamera hybrid at Porsche in Leeds. The Marketing Director for Porsche UK was there, intoning about Porsche’s latest (semi) electric offering. You could hear the room gradually falling asleep - an audience of people who own and feel the joy of putting their foot down and hearing the throaty growl of a Porsche engine weren’t exactly going to be inspired by a chat about methods of charging an electric vehicle. He was keen though and did his best to ignore the blank looks and the noticeably declining levels of enthusiasm in the room. Until the magic words ‘Nought to sixty in three point six seconds’ were uttered. Three point four on Launch Control setting. A ripple through the ranks as everyone sat up. Why didn’t you say that at the start?
Now that he’s onto the whole electric vehicle thing (and woken the room up again) he produced some shots of the Mission E. And it’s beautiful. It’s the thing that is totally going to give the Tesla a run for its money.
Suddenly I’m looking at the budget and the launch dates and checking whether I could scrape a deposit out of the bank balance. It’s a pretty car and it’s got the Porsche spirit in electric form. I’ll buy that.
There’s no denying that there are car drivers that love performance. The car is having a piece of all that is cutting edge and ingenious about today’s tech. It’s access to a moment of freedom and speed we rarely have otherwise.
You’re never going to enthuse these drivers with a vision of a hair shirt. Elon Musk gets that. And I have to say, whilst my money’s on the Porsche, I have to say that he has pushed the race forward.
By Beate Kubitz at 21 Nov 2017, 00:00 AM