Cars we won’t regret going electric: Speed Matters

Ditching internal combustion may be the best thing that ever happened to the Smart – could any other cars benefit?

What will the Goodwood Festival of Speed be like in 25 years’ time? Just as noisy and thick with the smell of tyre smoke and exhaust fumes I’d hope. And populated by our generation, misty-eyed at displays of the machinery of our youth being given a run out. Much as our parents may enjoy visits to volunteer branch lines to relive the glory days of steam or gaze in wonder at Spitfires looping the loop at air shows.

I’d expect there to be rather fewer internal combustion powered cars in the queues for the car parks though. A thought that struck me as I watched a Formula E car whistle past me at the Festival at the weekend. It was fast. But up against the mightiest examples of petrol-powered excess, an electric car was always going to suffer on the excitement stakes. An opinion perhaps not shared by the driver of the Rimac that very nearly ‘did a Hammond’ in front of the hospitality pavilions. But even that raised little more than a curious shrug from onlookers against the thunder of Jochen Mass power sliding a Mercedes W125 or the sound of the sky being ripped apart by an 8.4-litre McLaren M8F.

Will I be so nostalgic about the car I drive to the event though? Not sure. Accepted wisdom has it that electric cars are interesting. They can be fast – ludicrously so in the case of Tesla. But can they ever be better than their internal combustion equivalents? Does, for instance, the idea of an electric Porsche 911 fill you with hope? Or fear?

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