Dawning of an EV Age? : Editor's Note #121

By davidkhoo, 17 July 2022

Dawning of an EV Age? : Editor's Note #121

Singapore - I finally made the crossing into Malaysia by road. No, we weren’t part of another all-electric convoy just to show ‘you can’ – instead a five-car fleet of ICE-powered Skoda Octavia and Kodiaq RS models served as our transport to Kuantan on the East Coast of Malaysia.

Besides, I’d already made a cross-border run from Singapore into Kota Tinggi many years ago – a long time before it was trendy to do so – in one of my favourite all-electric city-cars, the BMW i3.

A few things stuck then that we reckon haven't changed today, notwithstanding the fact that the range of the average EV of today and the vocal range of its devotees is easily double that of the cheeky i3’s.

On a long road-trip, you’re a slave to the machine. Yes, we can appreciate the paradigm shift that is going electric and how you ‘need’ to align your lifestyle to that of your EV, but it takes away a lot of the spontaneity associated with a road-trip.

Basically with the EV, you need to precision-plan your route across all the different ‘Charge Apps’ to accommodate charging stops in Malaysia, as well as factoring-in a contingency plan if it’s not working or occupied when you get there.

An EV isn’t quite like a mobile device, because a portable powerbank easily extends the operating efficacy of your smartphone/phablet.

What’s the powerbank for the EV? An ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) support vehicle lugging a gen-set along? Or even ranging ahead to chope your charging space?

At the current state of technology and infrastructure, if travelling by EV is an organised package tour, travelling by ICE is the free-and-easy alternative and such spontaneity and freedom is what a lot of us continue to associate with road-trips.

Naturally, both tour options have their share of fans, so again, it’s down to which you prefer and there’s never a need for one or the other to try to ram rhetoric down the other’s throat.

These elements hit me as we meander along the long and winding road to Kuantan in the Skodas.

If we were of the mind, we could make impromptu detours ‘off-grid’ for durians deep in plantation territory, veer off-route for a quick snack or add another town to the driving tour at the spur of the moment without worrying we’d be left high-dry and outta juice.

Electric Vehicles as an end-all solution? I’m not sure, but as a stop-gap, sure perhaps and most certainly perfect for a city-state like Singapore. 

Why bother vilifying ICE and hyping EV (and vice versa)? After all, the end-game should be sustainably lowering emissions, be it through e-fuels, hydrogen, fuel-cell or whatever revolutionary solution that is currently brewing in a basement lab.

It isn’t about solely chasing a zero emissions motoring experience either, because the whole ecosystem should be sustainable from start to finish.

In the case of EVs, this should rightly comprise battery production all the way to end-of-life disposal as well and everything in-between. Unfortunately, we reckon too many folks lose sight of this in the contentious EV vs ICE divide.

Ultimately, we love what brands like Ferrari and McLaren have done by integrating the perky electric hit of an EV into their ICE sportscars.

After driving the Ferrari 296 GTB in May and our cover car, the McLaren Artura this past June, these ICE x EV hybrid combo collabs are our fave use of the electric drivetrain by far.

If travelling by EV is an organised package tour, travelling by ICE is the free-and-easy alternative and such spontaneity is what a lot of us associate with road-trips.

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