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Electric Vehicles Are Dangerously Fast for the Average Driver

Everybody loves a fast, powerful car, and this is one point that electric vehicles addressed from the very beginning. Today we see that almost every electric vehicle on the road has supercar-level performance. A series of high-profile crashes involving electric vehicles questions the wisdom of putting dragsters in the hands of regular drivers.
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When Tesla made the first Roadster, naturally, it advertised performance to justify the steep price of the car. But then it upped the ante with future models, with even more power and more performance. Soon, it became almost mandatory to have powerful motors and supercar-level performance with every electric vehicle launched into the market.

Looking at Tesla’s lineup, the lamest car in the catalog is the Model 3 RWD, with a 0-60 mph (0-96 kph) acceleration time of 5.8 seconds. Even mass-market electric cars have become insanely fast these days. Kia EV6, in its least powerful version, makes 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) in 6.2 seconds. Electric trucks are more or less the same, with the slowest of them making 0-60 in under 5 seconds. This is the level of performance you would expect from a high-end sportscar.

Why do EV makers have the 5 seconds mark as their minimum performance target? At first, it was because electric vehicles had few advantages over their ICE counterparts. Their range was drastically limited, they took forever to replenish the battery, and the battery filled the most of their trunk, leaving little space for useful cargo. So, a lot of drawbacks, but, hey! They accelerated like a rocket; that surely counts for something, right?

Things have changed a lot since then. We have electric vehicles that can go 520 miles on a charge and fully charge in half an hour. Modern EV platforms also integrate batteries into their inner structure with no penalty to the space inside. There are countless reasons to choose an EV over a gas-powered vehicle. However, one thing hasn’t changed: the power and performance that electric vehicles advertise. If anything, there’s an arms race going on between EV makers regarding the power of their cars.

Everybody loves powerful cars, although not everybody has the skills required to tame a supercar. Not everybody is aware of that, and faced with the question, few people would admit to being a lousy or even average driver. We all like to think we are aces behind the wheel, although the number of car crashes and fatalities repeatedly proves us wrong.

Even if (big if) everybody has incredible driving skills today, this will not last, unfortunately. Eyesight diminishes with age, the field of view narrows, and the reaction times get longer. At the same time, wealth increases with age, so it’s more likely elderly will buy a more powerful car. There will be a growing discrepancy between driving skills and car performance, leading to more problems.

In a recent car crash caught on camera in Columbus, Ohio, the driver, 63-year-old Frantz Jules, smashed his Tesla Model 3 through the glass wall of the local convention center. He claimed the car accelerated on itself to 70 mph (113 kph), and the brakes did not work. The NTSB did not pursue an investigation, which means there are no reasons to believe that a malfunction in the car caused the accident. Instead, the driver was to blame.

It’s not the first time, though. Last December, the crash that left 20 wounded in Paris happened in similar conditions, with similar claims. The driver was also an older man (he was 58) and, like the driver in Columbus, worked as a taxi driver. He was just given a Tesla Model 3 and was likely, not used to the car’s power and features. This shows what lies ahead when more older drivers get their first electric vehicle.

There are relatively few electric vehicles on the road now, which means these insanely powerful cars don’t pose much threat. But we wonder what the future would look like when all the vehicles on the streets are supercars with super specs. What do you think? Has this gone too far, or is it just a redo of what happened when cars became ubiquitous in the 20th century?

 
 
 
 
 

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