BE­HIND THE WHEEL

Our se­nior writer be­lieves that elec­tric cars hold the key to sav­ing the beloved in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine.

Torque (Singapore) - - CONTENTS - JEREMY CAN’T BE AN ELECTRICCAR AM­BAS­SADOR BE­CAUSE HIS DREAMS RE­MAIN FILLED WITH NAT­U­RALLY AS­PI­RATED FLAT-6s, V8s AND IN­LINE-6 EN­GINES.

AAFTER read­ing my col­umn ti­tle, you must be think­ing that I’ve lost my mind. How in the world can elec­tric cars save “old-school” petrol-pow­ered ones?

But be­fore you de­clare that I’ve gone in­sane, let me re­as­sure you that I haven’t.

As a driver and an en­thu­si­ast, I want noth­ing more than to be able to con­tinue to drive cars that are still pow­ered by in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gines.

Last year, I wrote about how elec­tric cars in Sin­ga­pore are but an in­dul­gence for well-heeled and eco-con­scious mo­torists. This for­tu­nate mi­nor­ity can af­ford to live in landed prop­erty, where a charg­ing point can be eas­ily in­stalled. I also wrote about how the fu­ture for car lovers was go­ing to be a night­mare filled with elec­tric ve­hi­cles (EVs) silently

IF EVS MADE UP THE MA­JOR­ITY OF CARS, THERE MIGHT BE ENOUGH OIL LEFT FOR US TO CON­TINUE DRIV­ING CARS WITH IN­TER­NAL COM­BUS­TION EN­GINES.

whizzing around our roads. How­ever, with the Gov­ern­ment seem­ingly keen on mak­ing elec­tric mo­bil­ity a re­al­ity for all, it is quite pos­si­ble that charg­ing sta­tions will be­come so wide­spread that every HDB carpark space might have one.

In­stinc­tively, I be­gan lament­ing about how this would truly spell the end of dirty in­ter­nal com­bus­tion mo­tors. This is it. We will have to sub­mit to the tyranny of clean EVs.

But the more I thought about it, the more I re­alised that EVs might ac­tu­ally be our ticket to still be­ing able to sa­ti­ate our filthy de­sires for emis­sions-full mo­tor­ing.

Let me il­lus­trate this us­ing the “Porsche Ex­am­ple”. The Ger­man man­u­fac­turer makes more moolah from their Ma­cans, Cayennes and Panam­eras than they ever will from their 911s, 718 Cay­mans and 718 Boxsters. Now, if the com­pany were to heed petrol­heads’ de­mands to halt pro­duc­tion of those mon­ey­mak­ers and just con­cen­trate on churn­ing out sports cars, it would have long ceased to ex­ist.

Porsche’s SUVs and fast­backs en­able it to keep churn­ing out its rear- and mid-en­gine mod­els.

In a sim­i­lar vein, a man­u­fac­turer that made enough money from its elec­tric lineup could con­tinue to make one or two in­ter­nal com­bus­tion mod­els for die-hard en­thu­si­asts.

Imagine Volk­swa­gen’s en­tire range be­ing elec­tric, ex­cept for the Golf GTI and Golf R. That sce­nario works for me.

At this point, you might ar­gue that not every car­maker would care to have petrolpow­ered mod­els. Fair enough. But what’s even more plau­si­ble is that if EVs made up the ma­jor­ity of au­to­mo­biles world­wide, we would dras­ti­cally re­duce our oil con­sump­tion.

If we con­serve enough of this non-re­new­able re­source, we might have enough left to be able to en­joy driv­ing “an­tique” cars with won­der­fully rorty en­gines and smelly ex­hausts.

How­ever, if nei­ther of these sce­nar­ios come true, I would have to do the un­think­able and learn to love (or at least grudg­ingly ac­cept) the elec­tric car.

To be fair, an elec­tric car can de­liver two im­por­tant things that petrol­heads like: in­stan­ta­neous ac­cel­er­a­tion and tremen­dous torque.

The first EV I ever drove was a Tesla Road­ster back in 2010. It pinned me to my seat the mo­ment I floored the ac­cel­er­a­tor, and my ears were as­saulted by what sounded like a jumbo jet tak­ing off. I was blown away.

An elec­tric mo­tor won’t growl, bur­ble, snarl or pop, but it can still have its own ex­cit­ing sound­track.

Will elec­tric cars prove to be our salvation? Wish­ful think­ing, but hey, don’t all petrol­heads love to dream?

Harm­ful it may be, but like many petrol­heads, Jeremy loves the smell of fresh petrol.

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