The vast majority of drivers have never experienced an electric car, but what if it were the other way around?

What if gasoline cars had only recently been introduced, and people weren't used to the sounds, smells, and other characteristics of a vibrating internal-combustion engine?

Electric-car advocates tirelessly parry negative comments about short ranges and long charging times, but one owner decided to turn the tables completely.

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That "test drive of a petrol car" is written from the perspective of someone who had never driven anything but an electric vehicle.

It was recently posted on the Tesla Club Sweden website.

Electric-car owners will likely view this thought experiment as fair and balanced, while gasoline drivers may just see it as a bizarre attempt at comedy.

New Honda of Seattle dealership (rendering), Mar 2015

New Honda of Seattle dealership (rendering), Mar 2015

The "test drive" starts at an "independent car repair shop" where the author picks up a demonstration model from a "pushy" salesman.

Our internal-combustion neophyte is used to driving Teslas, so the concept of franchised dealers is just as alien as the cars they sell.

First impressions aren't that great.

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After the driver pressed the start button, the gasoline engine "coughed" and "the car's whole body vibrated as if something was broken" (get used to roughly-translated Swedish)--frankly worrying the test driver.

And after all of that sound and fury, the car's performance didn't seem to impress either.

The tester was perplexed by having to shift through so-called "gears"--which he viewed as detrimental to smooth, continuous acceleration--and was surprised by the lack of regenerative braking.


"Braking gives no regeneration of gasoline back into the tank," the driver correctly notes.

Not that this person was any too thrilled about having more of the flammable liquid on board--or having to pay for it.

The driver was also incensed to learn that the exhaust system--described as a "kind of chimney for engine exhausts"--actually releases pollutants directly into the air that people breathe.

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At the end of the test drive, the electric-car driver was happy to hand the keys back to that pushy salesman.

Gasoline hadn't won a convert that day.

Of course, it's hard to imagine a driver today who has no knowledge of gasoline cars.

BMW M3 M Performance exhaust

BMW M3 M Performance exhaust

But there was a time when buyers weighed the relative merits of battery power and internal combustion without preconceived notions of either.

For a brief period at the turn of the 20th century, electric, gasoline, and even steam cars competed on more or less equal footing.

While we all know how that turned out, perhaps someday buyers again will be able to consider electric and gasoline equivalents on their actual merits.

[hat tip: Bill Kinder]


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