(as originally posted to CleanMPG)
There's a certain visceral appeal of the muscle or performance car, and the carmakers have of course played this to the hilt for years. The animal growl, the teeth, the muscular shoulders, the carefully molded-in lines that say "I and my fine steed are gonna chew you up like helpless prey and spit what's left out the tailpipe" ... something about how the whole picture goes together can appeal strongly to the animal in humans. You see it every time one of those jacked-up pickups with the big pipes takes off beside you. They've blasted you with noise, they've asserted their jungle authority. It's the big manly way to save time and appear all tough and capable, even if it really isn't. Back in the day it was likely more about horses and of course the aforementioned weapons, but really, think about all the classic stories in which a human teams up with an animal to form the unstoppable pair, even if it doesn't matter what they're supposedly fighting... it's just something about *having* a certain capability that matters. [In other words, power corrupts.] Vehicles quite possibly map closely to those befriended/allied animals in our minds ... they stand at four [or even two] points, they cast their keen gaze forward, they move by themselves, they inhale breath at the front and emit waste out the rear. And more importantly they do what WE want. Somehow the "coming to life" of that big block with the lumpy cam, its attack roar when the throttle is goosed, and the feel of the cheetah-like launch is just not going to easily go away for a lot of people. There's a definite sexiness about it that's often hard to suppress, no matter that it happens to be accomplished right now via a poor implementation that wastes a lot of precious resource, is entrenched firmly into our culture, and we don't have a better or alternate way widespread enough yet.
What somehow needs to happen, and I have no idea how it's going to be accomplished, is to somehow conjure up the same sort of appeal in that barely audible pitiful little whine most inverters emit and pride in the fact that you've made it whine *just* enough to get over the little rise and make it to the next stop with over 90% conversion efficiency out of your dead-silent battery pack. Even the axle-bustin' electric drag racers are going to have trouble stirring that same emotional response in many people. Short of adding the external speakers and "harley sound" synthesizer box, how do we ever hope to make electric transport appeal to so many people on that same level? Unless the new unspoken one-upmanship becomes "sneak up on your adversaries and bump 'em in the butt with your nose" ... For years now I've found it more rewarding to consider the physics of a large heavy object acted upon by a relatively small force and spend my mental bandwidth calculating where the object will be and how fast it's moving ten seconds from now, almost doing my own little version of orbital mechanics on the fly. I would often refer to it as "two tons of scrap metal, four undernourished hampsters, do the math". Brains over brawn, elegant and precise dynamics. But holding that up as "fun with a vehicle" appeal is way too cerebral for most people. I understand both viewpoints, but have no idea how to go about bridging them._H*