Sunday, 23 September 2018

Auto equivalent of an alien

by Nigel Wigmore

HAVE you ever wondered what it would be like to be weightless, floating free in space? You know, like Neil Armstrong in 1969 when he bounced across the moon’s cheesy, pitted surface? Or more recently when astronaut Chris Hadfield was “floating in a most peculiar way” as he sang David Bowie’s Space Oddity from the International Space Station.

It must be liberating but also (and maybe appropriately) an alien feeling for humans to defy gravity in this way. And I reckon that the automotive equivalent of this is driving a hybrid vehicle.

Not so much an all-electric vehicle (EV) where the silent response is constant: in a hybrid the floating — the aura of “weightlessness” — begins the drive cycle on the electric motor before the engine (be it either petrol or diesel) kicks in.

I was thinking these rather ethereal thoughts while at the wheel of this week’s drive: what surely must be one of the most elegant hybrids on the market today, the Lexus IS 300h F Sport.

Of course you are not in any way weightless while driving a hybrid but in the same way that a driver of say a big snarling V8 or V12 feels a “connection” with the car, with a hybrid there is a high degree of disconnection.

Motoring

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