/ 12 March 2023

Conventional vs Electric Vehicle: Views from eKazi

P90472300 Highres Bmw I4 In South Afri
Smooth operator: It looks like a BMW, it drives like a BMW, but does the i4 M50 sound like a BMW? In a class of its own, this model’s special sound was developed by music composer Hans Zimmer.

As a motoring writer, it’s important to see how any car I get to review is perceived by my audience. Heck, I live in ekasi so their take on anything becomes key to me. And the sound of a car makes the initial impression — from the Vrrr-Phaaa of the GTI to the growl of the V8.

Needless to say, when I was rocking the VW e-Golf, it was met with mixed reactions. It had no exciting sounds and I had to explain countless times that it drives just like any internal combustion car. 

On a more recent visit with the new Polo GTI, it was quite a festive affair. It looked right, it sounded right and went like the clappers — happiness all around. 

A few weeks later, I’m afforded a drive with the first-ever fully electric M-Performance car, BMW’s i4 M50. This car is equipped like the all-familiar drive modes and has a very special sound when engaged in a sportier set-up. Its sound was developed by acclaimed music composer Hans Zimmer, and it was met with ample excitement. 

Pity, then, that I could only experience this car in Joburg. Many in my community have expressed their dislike of EVs — such as the Nissan Leaf and BMW i3. The i4 M50 would surely have swayed many opinions.

Driving these cars in our neighbourhoods is also usually met with a rather odd reaction as far as performance is concerned. The instant torque delivery provokes smiles and wide grins — the surprise of those left in the wake of an EV will always crack my highlight reel. 

It’s the hushed drive of an electric vehicle that puts people off: “Tata, mayivakale imoto xa isiza” (we must hear a car coming). Also, the price tags for EVs are generally not favourable and let’s not even get into the matter of our ailing power utility. 

Another not-so-often-considered aspect is employment. Where will EVs leave the trusty kasi mechanics who have long served us without fail? This issue touches me deeply. 

While many factors can mean the demise of local businesses, most motoring outlets as we know them are still standing. 

There is still a lifespan for the internal combustion engine ekasi.