Do you have a stopwatch handy? No? Don’t worry, just read that first sentence again, maybe out loud. It should have taken you a little under two seconds to do so, or about the same time it takes for the new Rimac Nevera to accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph. Just breathe to think about it: in the brief moment you said a few words, this all-electric hypercar went from standing still to a mile per minute. Breathtakingly impressive, isn’t it? Well, yes and no.
Now I haven’t driven the new Rimac, but have been fortunate enough to be cleared behind the wheel of the Stard ERX rallycross car, which claims to do the 0-60mph sprint in 1.8 seconds similar to la Nevera, so I know what that kind of acceleration looks like. And what we feel is deeply, heartbreaking, uncomfortable for the senses. I mean really rude.
Of course, the forces involved are incredible, pinning you uncomfortably in the seat, but it’s the speed at which the world is coming at you through the windshield that is really disorienting, as all the usual speed-feeling markers disappear in a blur causing nausea. By the time you understand exactly where you are and what’s going on, you’re traveling really fast and have to muster every effort imaginable to get off the accelerator and hit the brake pedal to slow down on that turn which you could have sworn, was miles away the last time you looked a second ago.
For me, it all happened on a wide open race track, with all its flow and the absence of any other traffic. Now imagine doing it on the road, because that’s what the Rimac and others like it (Lotus Evija et al) will allow its riders to do, and some of them won’t be able to resist. All the same mental stress and gor-blimey-what’s-going-on? ‘Panic will be there, but this time it will be joined by the added complication of other cars, pedestrians and telegraph poles, to list just a few of the perils. There will really be little or no time to react if something goes wrong.
Now don’t get me wrong: this is not a rant about the dangers of fast cars – a modern equivalent of those 19th century opponents of the steam locomotive who claimed internal organs would liquefy and heads would explode if ever. the human body traveled faster than a horse could gallop. However, we are definitely at a point where perhaps we should be asking the age-old question of “just because we can, does that mean we should?” “.
I understand that bigger, more powerful motors are used not only because of their impressive numbers, but also because they are more efficient and efficient at recovering energy otherwise wasted for ever larger batteries. And I also understand that as we enter the electrified world of afterburners, manufacturers and sports car builders in particular are desperate to demonstrate that 12V can be just as exciting as V12.
I really don’t want to be a serious doom dealer, because I love a fast car as much as the next person, and I appreciate that you can have so much trouble with a lot less horsepower. Yet just at a time when going fast on the road is more frowned upon (and the car’s perceived responsibility for all of earth’s environmental ills is greater than ever), we are entering an era where power and unprecedented performance will be unleashed on a world less equipped to deal with it. Maybe it’s time to pause and think, at least for a few seconds.
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This notice was published: 2021-06-23 11:01:24