Why do I have to pick a side in the EV vs. ICE debate?
Just a few days ago I wrote a story about the new(ish) breed of hybrid hypercars. The gist was that car makers really don’t have a choice but to electrify their products if they are to meet ever-stricter emissions and noise regulations.
It’s fair to say that the comments section exploded, and quickly became a battleground between those who see the future of the automobile as electric and those who desperately want to cling to its combustion-fueled past. As is so often the case with online ‘debate’ there was almost no middle ground. It was a binary argument—you’re either with me or against me.
But does it really have to be this way? Why does embracing the new have to mean you no longer love the old? Or vice versa. Surely there’s a middle ground?
Well, let me be your case study. Some of you may be aware that I made a rather rash decision to buy a 1982 Lotus Esprit last year. It’s not my first classic, following in the oil tracks of a 1971 Mercedes 280CE, a 1972 VW Type 2 camper, and a 1969 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super. It is, however, probably my riskiest purchase yet and (yes, partly because of the time it will spend being fixed) it will be the one that I put the least miles on.
For daily duties something more practical was required, and after weighing up the pros and cons of an assortment of vehicles, I chose to lease an electric Kia EV6. Does this make me a traitor to the cause of combustion? Hardly.
I love nothing better than executing a perfect heel-and-toe downshift (not always easily done with the recalcitrant Citroën-derived transmission and tight pedal box of the Esprit), but there’s a lot to be said for the convenience and comfort of the Kia. It’s proving to be an extremely efficient and effortless way to travel. The fact that it produces no tailpipe emissions and costs less to “fill up” than an ICE equivalent is a bonus. Even after just a couple of months driving it, I can’t imagine going back to a petrol or diesel daily driver, 2030 new car ICE ban or not.
Judged on a simple straw poll of those who joined Hagerty for the national Drive It Day run to the Bicester Scramble here England, quite a few of you are interested to know how a fellow ‘petrolhead’ is getting on with running an electric car like the EV6. A solid handful of people sought me out to ask questions about making the switch.
Is it exciting? Not especially, although the instant acceleration still surprises me and it’s probably no less involving than any other sensible SUV. Is it really the answer to solving climate change? Not in isolation, of course, but driving around London I do feel marginally less guilty knowing that I’m contributing less to urban air pollution at the very least.
Would I choose to swoosh silently through a series of switchbacks or take the longer way home? Probably not, but fortunately, I have my classic to fulfill those analogue needs of driver engagement. Like many of you I hope to be able to continue to do so for many years and that e-fuels or other solutions will arrive to keep me in the driving seat.
I recognize that I’m speaking from a position of privilege here—having my cake and eating it too, perhaps. As an advocate for new technology and a lover of hands-on, old-school driving, I feel the pull in both directions.
For now I’m going to keep steering my course down the middle. What about you?