I connected two different news stories about electric cars, and I wonder if anyone else sees the relationship.
First story: electric cars have incredible acceleration. You can go to Wikipedia for some general overview about it. But it seems that every month for the last couple of months, the electric car manufacturers (or electric car concept show-ers) have a press release touting that their car is the quickest from 0-60.
Second story: Electric cars are crashing through walls, with people claiming the car did it on its own. The ol’ “unintended acceleration” bit. The car maker, of course, says that its car is fine and the problem was the driver pressed the wrong pedal.
Now put them both together. People have the equivalent of 800 horsepower in their electric performance vehicles (I’m excluding electric commuter vehicles such as the Smart car because they’re not involved in the 0-60 war, staying north of 10 seconds). I’m guessing that most of the people who bought electric cars would not buy a car with an 800HP engine because they realize that it’s overkill and dangerous. It’s also fun, which they find out when they mash the accelerator pedal on their electric car and get all that acceleration. But they don’t realize how much power it is.
And then the electric cars don’t have to rev up. The power is there instantaneously, such as when you in a parking lot or approaching your garage (or even in your garage). And also couple that with the fact that electric cars do not creep along, and people need to be retrained for how to drive slowly.
With a normal car, the engine idles. If you let off the brake, the car will move along slowly. People are in the habit of handling slow maneuvers, such as parking, by lightly pressing the brake pedal and letting the idling engine overpower the light brake apply. Then when the car is in the right place, they press harder on the brake and stop. In other words, people use the same pedal to drive slowly and to stop.
Now jump in an electric car. There is no idle. If you’re not pressing the accel pedal, nothing happens. So to roll into a parking spot, you need to keep your foot lightly on the “gas” pedal. Now you want to stop. Your years of training have taught your foot to press down on the same pedal, so your mind doesn’t really even think about it – you creep along and then when you’re ready to stop you press down hard. Only, this is an electric car, so you had your foot on the accelerator. So you start to move. And it’s not like a gas-powered car, where there is a slight lag and a spooling up of speed. No, this is full instant power, so there’s no chance for your brain to recognize that the wrong thing is happening.
Electric cars need something like a Parking Lot Mode. Where it will move slowly and you can modulate your speed with the brake pedal. A number of electric vehicles have a one-pedal operation mode, but that’s with the accelerator, where you press it to go and release it to stop. They need the opposite, where the car goes when you let off the brake. But only for low speeds. I can see some liability issues there too. But everyone should already be used to cars behaving that way.
The alternative is that people need to be trained to drive cars two-footedly. That way, your right foot will never get confused as to which pedal it is pressing. Stop is left foot and go is right foot. The best part is that it will work in gas cars too. At least those with automatic transmissions.
Can anyone smash iron, Iron from the north, or bronze?