EVs lend themselves better to higher levels of performance and Indian-made EVs will soon deliver over 400hp.
Speed. It’s a basic instinct. It’s what kept our forefathers alive. It’s what helped us keep predators at bay, stay one step ahead of the pack. Today, too, speed is important. Cognitive speed: the speed at which we arrive at new ideas, the speed at which we make decisions.
Also important and deeply satisfying is real speed. It appeals to an ancient part of our brain and it’s something we crave. Speed is essential when it comes to our electronic devices. We seek it out, we pay more for it, and faster is always better. This, of course, is true of the cars as well. Yes sure, safety, comfort and features are important. But true luxury also means real speed, effortless performance and instant responses.
This is one area where we haven’t seen much improvement, especially when it comes to locally made cars. Plot a chart of increase in performance over the years and you’ll notice it is relatively flat on top. The reason: the penalties involved in making more powerful cars are huge. And then, as cars get heavier and heavier, to enable them to be safer and more robust, achieving greater performance gets even harder.
The first big challenge is engine size and complexity. The heavier a car, the more power and torque you need to go faster. This means a bigger engine, or a turbo or some other form of power enhancement. All of these are expensive and need formidable engineering skills to accomplish. What’s worse is that the increase in power is not linear with the increase in cost. Need double the power, you may need to quadruple the cost; and that’s especially if you include the gearbox. And then there’s the step up in engineering skills needed and the increase in fuel consumption.
Building a performance EV is comparatively easier. Scaling up to a bigger battery is only a matter of cost. And while EVs are heavy and come with a weight penalty, the increase in electric consumption isn’t that steep as EV motors make max torque as soon as they start to spin. What also adds efficiency is regen. Also, need more power? Add a larger e-motor; it’s that simple. Need even more, add another one. And there’s no expensive gearbox or transfer case to worry about.
Of course, there are loads and loads of engineering challenges here too, and building a performance EV is no cakewalk, but with the EV battle about to commence for real between Tata, Mahindra, Maruti, Hyundai/Kia and Skoda/Volkswagen, wouldn’t an EV with a higher level of performance be a great differentiator? It would give the brand in question a much-needed USP, and as Musk and Tesla have shown, performance EVs can be so alluring. Mahindra is already planning to deliver a 109hp front and 286hp rear motor on some of its BE range of products and this is only likely to be the tip of the iceberg. Can you imagine a Mahindra with almost 400hp? Aha! Got your attention didn’t I? And there will be more. More power, more performance, more speed and more fun. More to look forward to. And yes, in some ways, EVs will be better.
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