With electric and hybrid vehicles becoming increasingly common on our roads, the original combustion engine that petrol heads love will soon be phased out. As of September 2022, electric vehicles already make up 14% of the UK's new car market, and plug-in hybrid models (PHEVs) account for 6.4%.
This term is slang for a car fanatic or someone who resists any other transport besides their car. Car enthusiasts typically love the power behind combustion engines and the noise that the car can generate. Many people believe that this adds character to the vehicle.
Currently, this is something many enthusiasts believe cannot be replicated with electric vehicles, making driving what some have described as a "clinical experience." There are recent developments in electric vehicles, however, that help them feel like 'normal cars.' In 2019, an EU law was introduced, making it a legal requirement for new EVs (Electric Vehicles) to make a sound at speeds up to 12.4mph. This new law is primarily a safety feature for pedestrians but is also a big plus for traditional motorists. As you pull away in your vehicle, the humming electric sound can be just as exciting as a grumbling engine because it gives these new eras of cars their own personality. So, we know electrification is not going away, and we will all have to get used to it in the future. Does this mean the term "petrol head" will be replaced by "electric head," and what features do car enthusiasts want to see in the next automotive revolution?
If we look a little deeper into an electric vehicle's components and how they work, car enthusiasts may see that they don't need gasoline to enjoy their driving experience.
Electric cars have 90% fewer moving parts than an internal combustion engine (ICE) car, one of the main parts being the electric motor. A rechargeable battery then powers the motor by taking electricity from the grid when plugged in and charging. The other three main parts of an EV are:
These internal workings of an electric vehicle mean they can actually accelerate faster than traditional fuel engine vehicles. So, that thrill drivers can get from the power of petrol? Not to worry, EVs can reach high speeds in record time, with the Porsche Taycan Turbo S reaching 0-62mph in 2.8 seconds. Even better, the Tesla Roadster does the same thing in 1.9 seconds—sure to get your adrenaline pumping.
We know what you're thinking now: these models are fast and furious, but they're also believed to have a higher price tag. True, electric and hybrid vehicles are still more expensive than petrol or diesel vehicles, but with the government planning to phase out new petrol and diesel vehicle sales by the end of 2030, this will not always be the case. Plus, EVs are cheaper to run in the long term. Charging your EV is much cheaper than filling a tank with petrol, and EVs have fewer moving parts than petrol and diesel cars, so they won't need servicing as often.
You may believe that the era of electric automotive is a long way off and that purchasing an electric or hybrid car hasn't even occurred to you yet. Of course, this could be for reasons such as cost or a desire to keep your beloved ICE vehicles, but you may not realise that it's already happening.
If the government are to fulfil the promise mentioned above, then EVs and hybrids will have to become more affordable, and they naturally will as they become the norm on our roads. Today, there are already an estimated 477,000 electric cars on UK roads and almost double that number of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), which shows that a significant percentage of our population has already made the switch. But how many of these are self-proclaimed 'petrolheads'?
As well as the environmental benefits, electric vehicles are easier and lighter to drive, which can only be a good thing, right? Well, herein lies another one of the problems for passionate drivers; they don't want a computer doing half the work for them. Instead, they want to feel the gear changes and the engine's grumble. Well, it's good that you can still get that feeling of driving even when going electric- it doesn't have to feel like you are in a dull, boring vehicle. The position of the battery on the car's floor and stiffer suspension add a sporty feel to the driving so that you won't lose that sense of fun on your journeys. Plus, without the noise and vibrations of a large, clunky engine, you can concentrate on the act of driving and enjoy the drive in peace and quiet.
We now go back to the question: will "petrolheads" become "electric heads?" It's no secret where the automotive industry is heading. As with any new technology, it may take a little longer to understand and accept that this is a positive change that will benefit everyone and can be enjoyed. Electric vehicles have speed, comfort and, of course, fun. More and more brands are emerging with hybrid models to move away from the production of petrol engines, so if you're not convinced the suitable model is out there for you, soon it will be.
Naturally, people will miss some aspects of the traditional engine, but there is so much to love about that electric motor- it cannot be denied that the speed statistics alone are impressive! However, if you are still not sold on going fully electric, try a plug-in hybrid. You can get a taster for the motor while still enjoying the features of an engine and get the best of both.