On the pretext of saving the planet, is there a chance that we’re headed in the wrong direction? Not that long ago, luxury consisted of air conditioning and a stereo – and that was it! Now, we demand seat massagers and radar-guided cruise control in a supercomputer on wheels. But all that computing power and those high-def screens add complexity and mass, not to mention the fact that they also require almost as much battery power as an EV deploys towards forward propulsion.
Sure, we’ve made huge advances in safety over the decades, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that our quest for bigger and better has also resulted in costlier and thirstier (for fuel or battery power). On more than one occasion in the recent past, I’ve referenced the Volvo confession report that says manufacturing an EV expends 70% more emissions that an equivalent ICE vehicle.
Which leads me to believe that we could well be barking up the wrong tree. Sure, we would all love a Netflix-lounge-on-wheels, but neither is that practical nor is it sustainable. Of course, cars like the BMW i7 are a paradigm shift, a tour-de-force of engineering and immensely desirable but luxury cars are not exactly going to help replenish a rainforest anytime soon.
The answer lies not solely in tech-laden and resource-rich EVs but also in going back to the basics – small, safe, and reliable motoring that’s as much fun as it is efficient. What we need to ask ourselves is not if we would all like a flat-screen TV in our cars, but if we actually require one for the daily commute…
These questions began swirling in my mind as I assessed the lineup of machines for our ‘Best of 2023’ mega-test. Each of the cutting-edge EVs that we had on hand were incredibly advanced and impressive, but they were also big, heavy and a reflection of the current age of excess. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t make them any less desirable or lust-worthy, but we do have to introspect and ask ourselves if we’re simply flying the green flag as a way to justify prolonged overindulgence.
If i were to show myself the mirror, I too would have to admit to being guilty as charged.