‘We must stop talking about the EV future in quite such woeful tones’

The automotive world still gives us many reasons to be cheerful, thinks Jethro

Jethro opinion header

I knew I was swinging into a one-way lane the wrong way in the local supermarket. But I could see nothing was coming and was just going to nip into the very last spot on the aisle. I’d calculated my time committing this mild transgression would be less than half a second. As I did so, another car emerged from a parking space about ten bays down. The driver had to pause for perhaps two-tenths of a second. He was incensed.

A few days later I was reversing out of my driveway. A road closure nearby and subsequent diversion had increased traffic on my street tenfold and finding a gap was tricky. No matter, about 20 metres from my driveway there’s a junction, so any car would already be slowing to a stop. I waited patiently and then a gap j-u-s-t about big enough arrived so I reversed out as quickly as I could, selected first gear and attempted to join the flow of traffic. But a small van taking dad and daughter of about 12 on the afternoon school run wasn’t having any of it. He dived down the side of my car, hooted, gave me several signs of his displeasure and was generally a complete twat about it. Again, if he’d have lifted the throttle for a second or less, all would have been fine and peaceful.

A day or two later I overtook a young mum who was doing 40mph on a dead straight 60mph road with perfect visibility. Flashing lights, the V-sign, bile pouring out of her. You’d think I’d just thrown a bag of dog shit at her windscreen. It made me wonder… why is everyone so unbelievably miserable? 

> ‘We must stop talking about the EV future in quite such woeful tones’

I have no answer to this. It seems to be peculiar to the British psyche and is getting worse by the day. You wouldn’t believe the angst it can cause some folk to find two people taking pictures of a car on a quiet road on a drizzly Tuesday. ‘How dare you? I am calling the police,’ and so it goes on. ‘Erm, okay. But we’re just cleaning the wheels and then eating our sandwiches.’ It truly is something to behold. We have become a nation of professionally angry people. I love a bit of rage myself. But mostly against things that actually matter. Y’know, campervans clogging up the North Coast 500, lane assist, other journalists who write stupid things on Twitter. The big issues in life. The smaller stuff just washes over me. In short, everyone needs to take a deep breath and relax. 

That includes us. People who love cars. Boy, can we moan. Touchscreens, cars getting bigger, Too Much Grip, Too Fast, how dare McLaren launch another car or Porsche another 911 derivative? You know the drill. I am guilty of it myself. Did I mention lane assist? Anyway, we have much to be happy about despite the impending EV-dominated future. In fact, we must stop talking about the EV future quite so often and in quite such woeful tones. All signs are that ICE is here to stay for some time, so until the dystopian EV future is upon us let’s celebrate what we have… from new V12-powered supercars to old Porsche Boxsters that can be yours for £4500. And even 1200bhp EV saloons that can out-accelerate a Chiron. I don’t want one, but let’s not be too mad that they exist. Not so long ago European motor shows were crammed full of autonomous cubes with cutesy names, 60bhp, the range of a bicycle pedalled by a toddler and said to be a true ‘mobility solution’. The future now at least looks faster and more interesting. And less autonomous. These are halcyon days.

Just think about it. We get to watch 250 GTOs, Lightweight E-types and Ford GT40s slide around Goodwood even if we can’t make it to the event thanks to live streaming; there are bustling cafes set up just to celebrate car culture and bursting with diverse stuff every single day; Ferrari has launched a front-engined road car with an 819bhp normally aspirated engine that revs to 9500rpm; you could cogently argue that Honda is selling the greatest hot hatch ever devised; homologation cars are back thanks to Toyota; the latest Porsche Cayman derivative is 25 seconds a lap faster around the Nürburgring than a Carrera GT and only 7 seconds slower than a 918 Spyder; you can still buy a Caterham brand new; early Audi R8s are pretty affordable; Gordon Murray has developed a new supercar in the mould of the McLaren F1; the Alpine A110 is sublime and refreshing and you can buy one. Please do. These and so many things should make us happy. For god’s sake, there’s a good chance that by the time you read this that my 996 will be finished. If that doesn’t make you smile – or just laugh because it won’t – then what will? 

So let’s not bemoan The End. It’s not over yet. As long as I’ve been doing this job people have said these are the last days of the Roman Empire every time a new fast car is launched. They’re not. The future is fast and diverse and potentially fascinating. And if it does truly come to be awful and dull and autonomous then at least you lived through peak car and hence peak Planet Earth. We’re the lucky ones. Spread the joy. Lest you become one of those miserable oxygen thieves in a supermarket car park who are held up for the blink of an eye.

This story was first featured in evo issue 293. 

Recommended

‘The 996 Porsche 911 went from being the sweetheart of road testers to being something of a joke’
Jethro opinion header
Opinion

‘The 996 Porsche 911 went from being the sweetheart of road testers to being something of a joke’

The world is embracing the pariah Porsche, and about time, says Jethro
6 Jun 2023
‘If only lane assist could steer these plonkers to the inside lane’
Dickie Meaden opinion
Opinion

‘If only lane assist could steer these plonkers to the inside lane’

Driving in Germany has reminded Meaden how bad UK drivers are
30 May 2023
'An ageing Range Rover can be a reliable car, especially if you carefully categorise your idea of reliability'
Richard Porter opinion
Opinion

'An ageing Range Rover can be a reliable car, especially if you carefully categorise your idea of reliability'

Porter’s old Range Rover is proving the doom-mongers wrong. Kind of
23 May 2023
‘I’ve been trying to really engage with and enjoy the act of driving very slowly’
Jethro opinion header
Opinion

‘I’ve been trying to really engage with and enjoy the act of driving very slowly’

His first UK speeding ticket has prompted Jethro to embrace driving slowly
16 May 2023

Most Popular

Toyota GR Yaris Gen 2 2024 review – first drive of the production ready hot hatch
Toyota GR Yaris – front
Reviews

Toyota GR Yaris Gen 2 2024 review – first drive of the production ready hot hatch

We've driven a prototype GR Yaris Gen 2 on track, now we've driven a production car on ice. Is it still looking good for the ultimate supermini?
27 Feb 2024
New Alpine A290: latest details on the Renault 5's hot hatch cousin
Alpine A290 concept
Features

New Alpine A290: latest details on the Renault 5's hot hatch cousin

Good news for fans of accessible performance, as Alpine reveals more details about its forthcoming EV hot hatch, the A290
26 Feb 2024
Hyundai i30 N and i20 N axed
Hyundai i30 N and i20 N
News

Hyundai i30 N and i20 N axed

Production of petrol-powered Hyundai N hot hatches has come to an end in Europe, with electric N models picking up the baton
23 Feb 2024