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Why is Electric Vehicle Performance So Important?

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® - Mar 24, 2021 at 8:11AM

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EV manufacturers are quick to brag about their cars' top speed and acceleration. Here's why it's such a big deal.

Unless you're a "car guy," it might not seem too important to have a car that could reach 200 miles per hour or accelerate to 60 miles per hour in less than three seconds. But that's exactly what some of the top electric vehicles are capable of, and in this Fool Live segment, recorded on March 15, contributor and auto enthusiast Matt Frankel talks with host Jason Moser about why the performance statistics of electric vehicles in particular are so impressive.

Jason Moser: I'm not trying to discredit. I'm just asking, why it matters? I don't care if my car can get from 0-60 in three seconds or four seconds. For me, personally, it doesn't matter. So I'm just asking a car guy why does it matter. I just don't know.

Matt Frankel: My better answer, especially for the EV market, is historically, EVs have been around in some form or another for about 20 years when you consider hybrids, plug-ins, things like that. Historically speaking, the better efficiency got, the worse performance got. The big proposition with Tesla (TSLA -6.42%) is, here is gasoline car performance from an electric car. That's what really catapulted Tesla into the stratosphere in terms of mass market adoption. If Lucid is saying, we could do what Tesla did even better in so many words. I'm a car guy, I love fast performance. I love stepping on the gas a little more than I should when I'm driving in my car. So I can't really speak to everybody why they care about 0-60 and things like that. But from an electric car standpoint, the fact that you can get this 500 mile range on something you can charge in your garage without sacrificing performance. To put it in context, 2.5 seconds is what a $500,000 Lamborghini would do. Getting that level of performance from something you can plug in your garage, is really why that statistic is so important.

Moser: Yeah, well that makes more sense to me. I mean, that I understand, I do get that, so it's an indicator of performance. It is a metric worth knowing. I get that. Thank you for explaining that because I was always a little bit confounded by that. Listen, EVs are the way the world needs to go. It's the way the world is going. It's just going to be a matter of time. I think that it's great to see companies like Lucid getting a chance to get out there. For all of the great things that Tesla has done, Tesla can't give every one in the world an EV. It doesn't have that type of production capability. So we need more EV companies. It sounds like that's what we're getting. It's nice to see the incumbents in the automobile industry also really starting to focus on this part of the market as well. I've seen a lot of Ford (F -2.72%) and GM (GM -1.99%) commercials really focusing on it as well. GM recently changed their logo to really be more in line with that type of mentality, that type of future. It's absolutely an exciting space, one that I think should continue to develop over the coming years. Thanks to companies like Lucid, it's just going to bring more and more options to consumers it sounds like.

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