There are some things all cars should be able to do:
- Make it up a hill
Pretty basic, right? The only car I’ve ever driven that struggled to make it up a hill was a 1987 Subaru GL. That car, for whatever reason, barely had enough power to drive over the added elevation of stripes in a parking lot.
I mention this because last weekend I attended an electric car show and managed to take an up close and personal look at some of the EVs currently on American roads. All were impressive.
One couldn’t make it up a hill.
Tesla had its now-discontinued Roadster and current rockstar Model S on display, both of which captivated the crowd with sleek looks and impressive technology. The only drawback to getting a Tesla right now is the cost, which is an issue that should be resolved in coming years.
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV made a showing as well, but got lost among the better-looking Teslas that surrounded it. Plus, I have no idea how to pronounce the car’s name, so I didn’t give it a lot of attention. An owner at the show complained of a low driving range and slow acceleration, but liked the comfort and ease of city driving.
The Chevrolet Volt is more a hybrid car than an EV, but it is capable of traveling under electric power only, so it counts. There’s not much new to share here. The Volt is loved, adored even, by owners who love how it sips fuel but has an unlimited range thanks to its gasoline tank.
The Nissan Leaf is perhaps the EV most like a regular car. It doesn’t look too weird and drives as any compact 4-door hatchback would, with the exception of some speedy acceleration. Plus, from personal experience, that hatch is great for changing a baby’s diaper. If you’re going to live with an affordable EV as a daily driver, this is the one to get.
The Tango T600 is a deceptive little bugger. See it there, peeking out from behind the Tesla? It looks like a top-heavy, slow EV, but in reality it’s a Porsche-crushing supercar. With 805 horsepower, 600kW of battery power and a low center of gravity, this car can accelerate to 60 mph in under 4 seconds and provide a 120-mile driving range, all while easily maneuvering through traffic thanks to its narrow width. This looks like the future to me.
Finally, here’s our little hill-climb troublemaker, the BMW i3. Believe it or not, the electric Bimmer couldn’t make it up a hill. Granted, it was a big hill, but the other electrics didn’t seem to have any trouble digging into the torque and making it happen. Maybe it was a bad day, had a low charge or was otherwise incapacitated, but I wasn’t impressed with the small BMW. It looks more Mitsubishi than BMW and doesn’t have that signature driving feel that a BMW should. i3? iThink iWon’t.
Have you driven any of these electric cars?