5/14/2020

You wanna go, bro? Let’s go!

Have you seen the commercial where two cars meet at a stoplight and one driver challenges the other to race? The second driver doesn’t want to mess with his insurance discount, however, the challenger (The Sherminator, if you remember) keeps taunting him by yelling, “You wanna go, bro? Let’s go!” I laugh because I swear I once knew him.

The Tesla Model S will do zero to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds.

I went to school with a friend who had a ’68 Camaro. It had seen better days, but man did it run - it would put you hard into the seatback and just seemed to keep accelerating. A little scary, actually. Much like the guy in the commercial, we all thought the cool cars were the fast cars. By fast, I mean from one red light to the next. To be more accurate, we all loved the quickest cars. A car that was quick away from the light was just more fun. Being curious, I looked up the stats on a ’68 Camaro. Fresh from the factory, that car would reportedly do zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. Pretty quick.

Many of us dream of fast cars and an open road. I’ve not found much of either in the last few years, but that hasn’t diminished the daydreaming. The reality of it all is that I am more and more identifying with the conservative guy at the light than the challenger, but I would still like a car that can ‘go’ if I call on it. I also like the idea of saving money on fuel. The two don’t usually go together, but it turns out they can.

If you are looking for a quick car, several conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) models can roll off the showroom floor that will do zero to 60 mph in less than five seconds. Some Mustangs and Camaros, for example. The list gets shorter very quickly when you begin looking for a four-second car, you may need to look for something like a Corvette. If you are thinking of a ride that will make zero to 60 mph in less than three seconds, your choices are very few, and the prices and gas consumption climb dramatically. You should probably find a Ferrari dealership, or consider one of the newest high-end C8 Corvettes.

Or, you can start looking at an electric vehicle (EV). The Tesla Model S will do zero to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds, and the new Porsche Taycan hits 60 mph in less than three seconds. The mainstream Model 3 will hit 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, and the upcoming Roadster only needs a ridiculous 1.9 seconds.

The quick acceleration is due to the instantly available torque that can only come from an electric motor. If you have not experienced acceleration from a standing start to 60 mph in around three seconds, you need to. It is a paradigm-shifting, mood-changing experience. A 2.4-second trip from zero to 60 mph will exert about 1.2g (1.2 X your body weight) pressing you into the BACK of the seat, not the seat bottom. You rarely feel that level of force driving a car. No doubt, it’s a ride to remember. While these performance numbers seem uncommon to most of us today, they will very likely become the norm in the near future due to the number of new model EVs slated to hit the streets in the next year or two, and their anticipated performance.

Rivian, a new EV manufacturer, will soon have its R1T truck and R1S SUV available - both are touting zero to 60 mph in three seconds. Ford will soon launch its Mustang-inspired, all-electric Mach E that promises wild performance. Even a Nissan LEAF Plus will do zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. Not too shabby. By comparison, many ICE sedans will clock about 10 seconds or more to get to 60 mph.

If you have performance in mind when thinking of your next vehicle, you are doing yourself an injustice if you don’t at least consider an EV. Beyond the ‘fun factor’, you’re going to save a ton on operating expenses - fuel and maintenance costs.

And you might even have a little fun with your ‘sleeper’ hot rod. No one expects to be left in the dust by a near-silent running sedan. At least not yet. Stand by, though; the word is getting out.