Not too long ago I wrote a piece about how my joy for electric driving was reinforced after a day trip with a diesel car to Huniade Castle in Romania. I thought it is all about the shaking, rattling and noise of the diesel engine and the contrast to the smooth and quiet gliding with an EV.
However, after using for the last two weeks our reliable and beloved Volvo V60 family car, I realized that it is not the stink of diesel fuel, what drives me more and more towards EVs.
After driving for eight years our second hand BMW 3 xi wagon and for another three an Audi A4 company car, we decided to purchase a brand new Volvo V60. My interest for Volvo cars started during a foreign assignment in Europe, where I got a deeper understanding of Volvo’s technical requirements and had a chance to visit the assembly plant in Torslanda, near Goteborg, Sweden.
The safety oriented DNA of Volvo cars is deeply embedded in the mindset of each team member. Shortly after the acquisition by Geely, Volvo’s management was tasked to reduce development and production costs for all new cars.
One focus area was the interior and soon enough Volvo asked for a meeting with my company, to better understand where the saving opportunities could be found. They were especially interested in the rear seat structure, a complicated, heavy and expensive piece of metal.
Two blocks impact luggage retention simulation. Source: You Tube
One standard question all global suppliers receive, but can not respond due to proprietary information and confidentiality agreements, is about the direct competitors. Without naming names, we were able to share with Volvo engineering executives the fact that all direct competitors were using the two wooden block legal impact test according to ECE 17, plus a safety margin. Volvo is the only OEM using a custom three block test, to verify the strength of the rear structure, which is protecting occupants from luggage impact.
The two executives looked at each other for couple of seconds and rejected on the spot any engineering change which could save money, but affect occupant safety during an accident. This one meeting was a rare example in global automotive, where occupants’ well being came before money and I decided to purchase one of their products for our family.
The V60 four cilinder, two liter turbo engine comes with 240 HP and an eight speed automatic transmission in what I thought, at that time, must be the smoothest way of moving around on four wheels. Thirty thousand miles and three years later I was still convinced this is the smoothest and most economic way to move around until … we decided to purchase a Tesla Model 3.
After a long winter trip from Michigan to Romania, we were so in love with our Model 3, that people thought we got some “Tesla virus”. After another 12.000 km with the car nicknamed “TM3” (pronounced “tee me tray”) for project Electromobility, more than 100 people in US, Norway, Sweden, Germany and Romania were introduced to the joy of electric driving by our Tesla Model 3.
Back to Motor City and to our Volvo V60in June, we realized how much Tesla spoiled us. Using a key and pushing a start button for the Volvo to move, seems so yesterday.
The eight speed automatic is not as smooth as in our pre-electric memories anymore, especially when slowing down. And by the way, reducing speed happens almost every time by braking. What a waste of energy, compared to the smooth regenerative slowdown of EVs.
Acceleration comes with a small delay, as if the ICE and transmission are negotiating for a sec what is the best combination of rpm and gear selection to get the best acceleration. By then the instant torque of the EV propels it around the corner. No hesitation, no delay whatsoever !
It is all these little driving facts which make you to never look back at fossil fuel cars, no matter if diesel or gas, once you get spoiled by driving EVs, just in case you are not convinced about the ecologic benefit of purchasing and driving an EV right now.