Where I live in Los Angeles, a daily battle rages between the old and new, loud and quiet.
There is roughly an even divide in my community. On one side, Muscle cars like the Dodge Challenger Hellcat and Camaro ZL1. And on the other, EVs like the Tesla Model Y (the most popular new EV here) and the Model 3.
The muscle car represents the old approach to fast cars, EVs the new.
To me, it’s bizarre to have these two cultures juxtaposed. Cheek by jowl. Because the two belief systems couldn’t be further apart. And neither side understands the other. Kind of like the political divide in America.
The muscle car guys like noise. (EVs are not real cars in their eyes.) The louder, the better. The Dodge Charger (or Challenger, take your pick) with its window-rattling Hemi engine is probably the best example. I know because, until recently, I had an immediate neighbor who owned a Charger. And every time he fired up the engine it was a small seismic event.
But I’m also surrounded* by Tesla owners. Four of my nearby neighbors own Model 3s, one now has a Model Y, plus a smattering of Chevy Bolts, Volts, and BMW i3s.
In the larger community, as I said above, it’s roughly an even spilt.
The drag strip
This ideological divide is most apparent in the foothills above me.
I live in an area on the outskirts of Los Angeles that has a 3/4 mile stretch of four-lane road that dead ends in the foothills. Because it dead ends in a relatively unpopulated area, it is street racing heaven.
At night, when I hike up into the foothills, I’ve witnessed muscle-car drag races where they hit insane speeds. Remember, this is a residential area where people are out at night walking their dogs and crossing the street.
And the noise is ear-splitting.
But then, in the next instant, a Model 3 will drive by in silence. Then a few minutes later, a Model X.
What’s funny is, even though the Model 3 could beat a lot of those ICE cars in a 0-60, there are no drag races between Model 3 owners and (typically) not even a display of high-speed bravado.
Will muscle car owners ever convert?
Maybe. But I have serious doubts. The very fact that EVs are silent make them an anathema to muscle car people. And they’re seen as geeky. Not for real men.
The upcoming Hummer EV and Tesla Cybertruck could convert a few people wedded to muscly SUVs and pickups. But I wonder.
The ideologies are too far apart. Never the twain shall meet.
*I drive a Chevy Bolt EV.
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