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Question of the Week

We asked TG readers the *one* thing they'd change about EVs, and the results are in

Less weight, more tunability and solar panels: this is how you'd improve electric cars...

Published: 17 May 2024

Anything to do with electric cars seems to provoke a clenched fist and a strong opinion these days. So predictably, our latest Question of the Week saw the comments section filled to the brim with just that.

In an attempt to sift out the reasonable arguments from those which strayed completely off-topic, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite responses to this: what's the one thing you'd change about EVs? Let’s begin with this one from 86x86:

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“I'd just like to see more affordable EV sports cars with lighter batteries. I'm not fussed about the end of manual gearboxes or ICE engine notes, but I do care about being able to continue enjoying track days. I understand that currently, most tracks have a ban on EVs because of the difficulties associated with handling them in accident situations.

“Even when we reach the point where track stewards can handle EV accidents safely, I don’t think there are enough light, affordable EVs which you can really enjoy out on the track. The next-gen Boxster/Cayman is promising, as are the electrified Caterhams.” 

Sticking with a similar theme is this from Inventive Username: “Make 'em simpler. Give me four wheels, a motor, a set of seats, a heater, a radio, a few basic instruments and some sheet metal to keep the rain off. Make sure there's enough space inside to fit three other people and their luggage. Then do what you need to make it ride and handle well.”

Next up is Vertigo, who focuses on mechanical noise: “Electric motors aren't silent, and the sound they make can be pleasing and futuristic, like something in a sci-fi movie. But they’re usually designed in such a way that the motor noise is barely audible. 

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“A positive change would be to add channels between the motor and the cabin. Maybe using some of that resonance expertise honed through decades of exhaust tinkering to louden it, and including a shut-off valve that blanks the noise when you're cruising to avoid having a continuous drone. Fake driving noises just don't hit the same buttons - no matter how good they are.”

Cole Lewis had a similar response to the lack of character: “The joy of building, tuning and making a car your own is lost in EVs. There are no real ‘bolt-ons’, kits or tuning options. If someone is looking to make a car their own and modify it for fun or enjoyment, an EV is lost in the joys of building.”

Delving even further into EV design language, here’s Peterson's view: “Maybe if there were more i3-shaped cars instead of SUVs - tall and narrow is better than low and wide.

And, similarly, here’s what MCS wrote: “I think electric cars just don't have that personal touch petrolheads love. You can't really tweak them or make them your own like you can with traditional cars.”

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It’s worth also sparing a thought for one supposed creature comfort which - even today - is still very hit and miss. “If I could change one thing on my Vauxhall Corsa-e, it’s the blasted voice recognition software,” says TBP. “It’s as useless now as it was when it first started being introduced 30-odd years ago.”

The penultimate solution came from Olly, who said: “I’d like to see solar panels sold as an option for roofs. I know they’d generate very little range, but for city dwellers who only cover a few miles and likely don't have off-street parking/charging, they could make a real difference.”

Last but certainly not least is this wonderfully thought-provoking comment from MJCgt500: “After spending too much time thinking about this, I've concluded that the discussion on electric cars is so familiar that talking about weight and CO2 emissions has become predictable, which is why I would like to offer an alternative: electric cars could change what it means to be a car. Instead of looking like ICE cars of the past, batteries have the opportunity to carve the way to new norms, interesting shapes and all-new experiences.”

Interesting. Very interesting. The next Question of the Week drops on Monday, and we'll be asking you about the future of a certain Adrian Newey. See you then.

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