Our tractor has started shaking violently … and seems to have a sore throat. I didn’t really notice it initially, but now this strikes me as a disastrous concern.
Okay, well, the “tractor” I’m talking about is actually a Volvo S60, but it feels like a tractor now, so that’s what we’re calling it. To clarify quickly before moving on: One of my founding partners for the intercity Tesla Shuttle service we’re launching in Europe has a quite nice Volvo. It has treated him well and I doubt you’d find many people talking smack about it. However, after getting a Tesla Model S for our intercity chauffeur service, we’ve been trading the Model S and Volvo back and forth depending on the company’s needs. Because of this ongoing game of ping-pong car, both of us have been struck hard by one impression: the Volvo now feels like a tractor.
Not only does the Volvo feel like a tractor because of its slow acceleration, but it also shakes violently and uncontrollably. It honestly feels more diseased each time I get it again. This time, I can’t stop feeling like it’s about to fall apart — the shaking and rattling is so dramatic. Yes, I’m concerned for its life (… but not really).
The shaking is one part of the illness, but there’s also the sound. It sounds like the car has a horrible sore throat. I want to pop some lozenges into its mouth, but it’s mouth is full of dirty hoses, belts, and hot machines, so it’s hard to know where to even start.
Granted, the Volvo does offer more comfort than riding a horse. Although … right after thinking this and in the middle of drafting the article you’re reading right now, I was driving the car again and realized that it does seem to act eerily like a stubborn and wild horse. When I want it to start moving, it often sits there and delays the requested action, and then it suddenly jerks forward in a jarring manner. More than ever, horsepower seems like the appropriate term for what’s under the hood. High horsepower was certainly cool in the 20th century, but it is super unpremium going back to this fossil-fueled horsepower once you enjoy the smooth, silent, and powerful joy of fully electric instant torque.
Speaking of flying around the road violently, the problem isn’t just the acceleration but also the deceleration. This one didn’t hit me hard until I got the car again yesterday after a couple of weeks with the Tesla. My buddy, Jacek, mentioned it to me and I couldn’t fully relate since I didn’t recall it being an issue previously. But this time, driving around the city a little bit, I was thrown off by how fast the car was rolling into corners, red lights, and roundabouts. “Why isn’t the car controlling itself a little better! Why is it trying to fly off the road!” Of course, I immediately knew the answer — it doesn’t benefit from the sophistication of regenerative braking. The wild horse doesn’t offer one-pedal driving.
Honest to goodness, this article was a pure reaction to the increasingly disturbing drive quality of a fossil-powered car — it wasn’t something premeditated to slander non-electric cars or Volvo. These impressions are just so strong the more you drive electric that it’s hard to not blurt out exclamations and shocked observations about how antiquated the tech is.
However, it doesn’t even end with the drive quality. I started driving somewhere today and realized it would be helpful to use the navigation, but then I realized that I had no giant, quick, easy-to-use navigation screen. Nope, I had to find my own way to the destination since I didn’t set up my iPad Mini ahead of time. (In this case, it worked out fine, but just sayin’).
On this same drive, the noise of the beast under the hood was quickly getting old, so I tried to put on some music, but I had to sit through some useless talking, commercials, and songs I didn’t care to listen to — there was all of a sudden no Spotify to slip me into the song or commercial-free musical genre I was in the mood for. “First world problems,” I know! But the point, as Jacek put it, is that these comforts grow on you very quickly, and almost instantly make a “premium” car of the old-school tech revolution seem like C-3PO trying to compete in the NBA.
One thing might solve the problem and put us out of our pain, though.
It’s also very easy now to forget the key inside the car. (In a Tesla, the key just sits in your pocket, and the car locks itself when you walk away. Not so in the classically equipped Volvo.) Perhaps some unlucky fellow will stumble across the Volvo, notice the key sitting inside, and take it for a spin to a faraway place. That would be sad … maybe. If such a thing does happen, I just hope Jacek has insurance that will give him cash for a Tesla Model 3, next-gen Nissan LEAF, Renault Zoe, or some other modern car.