Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

MasterDrive just conducted a ride and drive event at the Colorado Energy Expo at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The event featured electric cars from four manufacturers. You can see a video of the course on our Facebook page.  Participants were able to test the driving characteristics of the BMW i3, Cadillac ELR, Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt.

Electric and hybrid vehicles are very unique and drive differently than liquid fueled vehicles. The ‘engine’ is able to deliver maximum power from the first revolution and doesn’t have to rev up to get moving. The torque curve is nearly vertical and therefore the acceleration is exhilarating. The batteries can be placed anywhere you want them in the chassis and you want them low, so, they are at floor level. This design brings the center of gravity extremely low which improves handling and responsiveness. The most unique feature in these vehicles is regenerative braking. Not only does regen braking take energy that would otherwise be wasted and capture it for future use, it also makes sure that you are driving efficiently. As soon as you release the accelerator the regen can kick in and start to decelerate the vehicle. In practice, you can apply the brake pedal much later than you might expect because, rather than allowing you to coast the regen has already slowed the vehicle.

The entire Tesla powertrain.

The entire Tesla powertrain.

We set up a course that highlighted these unique driving characteristics and attendees of the Energy Expo came out and drove all four cars. We found the response from the drivers very interesting. Everyone was impressed and surprised at how well the vehicles drove. It was nice to see people getting excited about this new technology. In 2014 43% of the world sales volume of plug in electric vehicles was in the United States. California accounts for about 40% of that with over 100,000 units. There are 23 highway legal plug in electric cars available in the American market from 12 manufacturers.

MasterDrive has developed a special curriculum and training clinic for drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles. We are launching this program in May and June 2015 at our Denver training center. In a convenient two hour clinic drivers will be able to experience the differences in the driving characteristics of cars with this new technology. They will learn how to maximize the advantages available to them and they will feel what the vehicle is capable of. They will also learn of the unique safety features and practices associated with these special vehicles. Contact one of our offices to learn more about this program.

Whether your motivation is to get tax credits, a concern for the environment, a desire to reduce one’s carbon footprint, getting access to HOV lanes or just a desire to embrace new technology we encourage you to get to a dealer and learn more about these machines. Then, contact us to learn how to maximize your enjoyment of your new car.