2011 Smart electric drive - first driveEnlarge Photo
As any parent will tell you, progress takes time. Evolution often takes a much longer time yet.
So rather than pounding our head on the wall when we read idiotic editorials, perhaps we should take a deep breath and calmly reflect that those who can't adapt to change will eventually die out.
What prompts this reflective moment? An editorial in trade journal Automotive News by one Charles Child, entitled "Kilowatt? In car-speak, it's kill-a-thrill."
His basic premise is that because domestic appliances are rated in kilowatts, any electric car whose motor power is quoted that way is automatically dull, boring, nerdy, and unworthy of high regard.
He writes, " ... tell me a car has 250 hp, and my ears perk up. Tell me its propulsion battery generates 16 kilowatt hours, and nothing registers. A foreign language."
Electric cars? They're not real cars, in other words. Because real cars are measured in horsepower. You know, big stompin' ponies. The kind real men favor.
You might almost wonder if Mr. Childs has a little equation in the back of his mind: Horsepower is for men, kilowatts are for women. Y'know, domestic appliances and all.
After all, women were some of the most enthusiastic adopters of electric vehicles in the early part of the last century.
We think women are often smarter car buyers than men. They look more at functionality, less at frippery. Sometimes buying a car the way you buy a fridge isn't such a bad thing: What can it do for me?
Our favorite lines: "... when was the last time you heard someone excited about the sheet metal of his washing machine? An electric appliance is a tough sell."
Yeah, well, we know a few folks already slavering and drooling over upcoming electric cars like the 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevrolet Volt. Whose motor outputs are quoted in, ummm, kilowatts.
Somehow we think Asian and European carmakers--who, by the way, measure engine output in kilowatts too, having ditched the archaic horsepower awhile back--don't have this same concern.
But [deep breath] evolution takes time. One day, Detroit dinosaurs like Child (or their descendants) will think nothing of quoting power in kilowatts.
And the world will have lurched ahead just a bit more.
[Automotive News (subscription required)]