The electric car revolution has had a slow start. It hardly charged onto the scene, instead beginning as an environmental sideshow, a PR opportunity for fossil fuel-using, ozone-burning car manufacturers. But, over time, it’s a market that has picked up speed.
Like it or not, electric cars are here to stay. And, whilst we all may kick and scream, we are going to have to get used to spitting out our V8 dummies and embrace the unholy child that is silent motoring.
The first wave of electric cars
Of course, the road to this point has been fraught with difficult choices, potholes and pitfalls that manufacturers and consumers alike have fallen into. In the early days of electric motoring, pickings were slim — and unattractive.
Did anyone really want to drive, let alone buy, a Nissan Leaf? Who could afford the high-end Mark 1 Tesla Roadster? And surely even the name would have put you off considering the already-extinct Fisker Karma.
"Did anyone really want to drive, let alone buy, a Nissan Leaf?"
The Toyota Prius, which eased its way into the electric market as a hybrid, was undoutedly popular, but surely the only people who get behind the wheel of this Japanese motor now are Uber drivers. It makes for an acceptable everyday driver, but having to contend with random, confused ridesharers barging onto your backseat must get tiring.
The industry settles
The second wave was undoubtedly a step forward, but it still offered little to tempt you away from the wheel of your Aston Martin DBS, or Golf GTI.
Mr Musk, however, was gathering a staunch following of eco-minded followers with his well-executed Tesla Model S. A standard-bearer for the electric age, Musk finally overcame the concern of range, and proved that you could use your electric car as a capable everyday driver.
Strangely, it was fellow drivers who began to put us off. Did we really want to be part of this particular cult, nodding righteously at fellow smug electric drivers and gathering at the charging stations popping on street corners? And were the cars really worth it? They were hardly Mustangs.
In fact, electric motoring in general was hardly the sexy, hairy-chested car scene of the Seventies. You can’t imagine a mustachioed man, cigar between teeth, revving his Nissan Leaf as a scantily-clad woman drapes herself across the bonnet. But perhaps that was the point. It was a statement of sense, of us taking responsibility and control.
The brave new world
So where are we now? Looking beyond the hybrids (because they’re cheating really, aren’t they?) the selection of fully-electric cars has improved. But has it improved enough for us to forgo internal combustion entirely?
The first of the big manufacturers to grab at Elon’s crown is Jaguar with the I-Pace. It’s a sterling effort. A good-looking car with a robust, well-engineered design and feel to drive. Pick the right colour and spec and you won’t feel an ounce of embarrassment as you get behind the wheel.
And, look further down the road, and there are some genuinely exciting concepts about to charge onto the scene. Tesla are releasing a new Roadster in 2020, and it’s a weapon we’re confident will make even the most cocksure V12 quake in its tyres. But its promised range of 620 miles, 250mph top speed and £150,000 price tag isn’t the only electric concept revving our engines.
"Look further down the road, and there are some genuinely exciting concepts about to charge onto the scene..."
Mission E from Porsche is also a fantastic looking car, that hopes to head into production before the end of 2019. And who would bet against the iconic German carmaker once they throw their engineering heft behind electric technology?
The Vision Concept from Aston Martin Lagonda is also aiming to take on the might and majesty of Rolls-Royce with an all-electric alternative. Pomp and ceremony is at the forefront of their design, with Savile Row tailors Henry Poole using silk and hand-woven wool to create seats inspired by military epaulettes.
Imagine that: British-made luxury supercars with sumptuous interiors and the ability to give you a clean conscience? If that doesn’t get you excited for electric, we don’t know what will.
Fancy something more old school? This $5 million Maserati is right up your street…
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