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PHOTO CAPTION: Pod electric car charge station in London.

Electric Cars: Strange, Fun, Regrettably Still Flawed

If you've never driven an electric car, you can't adequately describe in words what the sensation is like.

Published: 02-Jan-2014

For most experienced drivers, the first time in an electric car is decidedly odd. There is typically no gearbox or transmission, for example. Electric motors differ greatly from internal combustion engines in the way they deliver power and torque, and for the most part, you have maximum performance from the start. No hanging about waiting for revs to build, no waiting for the optimum moment to change to another gear, nothing; it’s just push the pedal and go.

Until a driver has actually tried an electric car it is very difficult to get the sensation across in words. For starters, all is quiet; there is virtually no noise. All that happens is, as the foot goes deeper into the carpet pile, the car continues to gather speed all the way up to the speed limit and, in some cases, beyond. No drama at all. You could drive through a cathedral undiscovered, except perhaps by an eagle-eyed clergyman who would simply nod benignly because, as you know, electric cars are righteous.

An EV goes directly to full torque from zero in one linear power delivery. Another virtue is that most decent petrol engines are puffed out by about 8000rpm at best whereas a decent electric car motor can go all the way up to 15000 rpm.

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