Peugeot recently showed off its EX-1 concept electric car for its 200th birthday. A 100% electric car, its main claim to fame—besides that Batmannish shell—is its 340 horsepower engines and its breaking of six world records. (I understand it may have also taken the record for the Kessel Run from the Millennium Falcon, but that hasn’t been confirmed.)
The EX-1 is a vehicle to stand beside the Tesla Roadster, which does 0-60 in 3.7 seconds. Maybe that’ll be fast enough to save you from the authorities, or your wife, when they find out you paid over $100,000 for it.
It’s great seeing all of this effort being taken to create scare-your-grandmother electric speed-demons. Really, it is. After all, this world needs all the 200+ MPH vehicles it can get, right? Traditionally, car companies create racers and concept cars in order to garner intense interest in the brand, which in turn raises stock prices and makes the company more money. In turn, the company trickles-down the technology in their racers and prototypes to the real car market. Much of the equipment inside even stodgy station wagons and tiny economy cars owe their heritage to racing tech.
Unfortunately, these companies don’t seem to be making much progress getting to market the 200+ mile range electric car that Mr. and Mrs. Joe Consumer is looking for. You know, the one that doesn’t cost over $100,000… and comes with a radio.
For instance, it’s been recognized for most of a decade that pancake motors at each wheel are far lighter, more powerful and more responsive than one large motor and a transmission/differential system, would use less energy, travel further and would be easier to service. So where are the pancake motors on practical cars? Nowhere yet.
And where are the cars that look like… well, cars? Not everyone wants to buy a vehicle that looks like it just rolled off the Blade Runner lot. I want an electric car with handsome lines… not a lightcycle. And not one of those things the ghetto hamsters sell.
It’s been my hope that, by 2015-2020, during which time I expect my current car to give up the ghost, I will have a number of full electric cars to choose from. Of course, in 1980 I saw electric concept cars about, built by small companies, and big ones like… yes, GM. I thought I’d see the practical electrics everywhere on the road in 2000. Thirty years after my initial guesstimate, ten years after the due date in my predictions, I’m still seeing a lot of concept cars.
It’s time to move on from the concept stage. You’ve had 30 years; now give us practical cars.