From the President

March 2015

The new age of car propulsion seems to be electric. I thought that electric cars were just modified golf carts like the Nissan Leaf to go to the grocery store and other short distance trips. Then I get an email that Tesla Model S P85D has set the record for the quarter mile electric production car. The Tesla’s quarter mile ET 11.683 seconds, MPH 114.61, and 0-60 in 3.1 seconds.

This led me to a YouTube video(click here) demonstrating the “insane mode” button on the dash of the S P85D. What this button does is engage both the rear wheel 470 HP motor and the front wheel drive 221 hp motor at the same time to get total of 691 HP. From a stop, the one-speed P85D has all of its 686 pound-feet of thrust at the ready. Power delivery is immediate, as in all EVs, but here it’s like driving a sports car in the lowest possible gear with the engine revving right at the torque peak, all the time. This forever changed the image in my mind about electric cars.

While attending a business convention, I enjoyed a speaker telling about the great technologies coming up and one was the driverless car. Google already has them and starting test marketing, but he predicts that all major car companies will have them within five years. The car companies will focus their design department on rider comforts and convenience more than driver as the computer will take over his job. He said there will be driverless highways where only driverless cars will be allowed, there by speeding up transit as the computer would guide the cars through intersections with amazing speed while you relax. There will not be as much incentive to own a car as you just call or email a driverless car and tell where you are going, like a taxi but you don’t have to pay the driver.

We are living in a dynamic time and the automobile in the future is going to be different to say the least. I hope there will always be a road where we can enjoy our loud combustible engine cars and the joy of driving those winding roads that give us that sense of pleasure and accomplishment that we drove it through with our own driving skills.

I still have a personal attachment to my car; it is a little like an extension of me. Will life be the same with “HAL” the computer in the future cars? I just hope he does not go wacky like in 2001 Space Odyssey.

Norman Penfield - President AACC