When you think of an electric vehicle (EV), do you think of a compact, "different looking" car that lacks the bells and whistles that many people brag to their neighbors about?
As more EV models are introduced to the market, the perception that there is not an EV for everyone is quickly fading.
In early May, I had the pleasure of test driving the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year, the best-selling EV in the first quarter of 2013, the car that recently received a 99 out of a possible 100 from Consumer Reports--the Tesla Model S.
EV IN PARADISE
Maui Electric Vehicle Alliance Project Coordinator
This electric flagship can literally blow the doors off any gas-powered car out there.
Electric vehicles benefit from having instant torque, as the engine and transmission systems (and their pestering inefficiencies) are replaced by an electric motor with only one moving part--the rotor. This result is that the Model S can go zero to 60 mph in a whopping 4.2 seconds. That's faster than a Porche 911 Carrera!
For obvious reasons, blazing speed is not the most practical reason for buying a car on Maui. With the island's numerous dirt roads and potholes, many people opt to purchase trucks or cars with high ground clearance.
Pulling off of Hana Highway down Maliko Gulch to check out the Paddle Imua race, I swiped my finger on the massive 17-inch touchscreen center console to initiate the air suspension that raises the car to clear the muddy potholes. Yes, with the swipe of your finger, you control every aspect of the vehicles features--from opening the sunroof the length of the roof, to accessing the energy-use information and glancing at the impressive 265-mile range.
Electric car owners typically enjoy testing the limits of their vehicle.
A few weeks before I got to test drive the Model S, a couple friends and I were hiking down Haleakala via Sliding Sands Trail, and out the Halemau'u trail to the main road.
Just as we got to the street to catch a lift back to the top, there was the same Model S that I would test drive and write about here, regenerating energy all the way home.