Whether you have a platform or not, we’ve all been in a place where you feel like your voice is not being heard and you are just shouting into the void. Believe it or not, that often happens as editor of an online magazine – you can see the page views on your screen but without that physical interaction point with the reader it almost feels fake or at least surreal. Conversely it feels very much the same as a reader, even when you write to an editor or post on social media about what you are reading. If there is one thing that will make you want to reach out and touch someone, it’s EVs. In our hobby nothing is more polarizing than EVs.
While we typically do not publish a “Letters to the Editor” (maybe we should?), I do want to assure those of you who feel like your voice is not being heard on EVs and provide a suitable response. For some, EVs can most certainly cause a visceral reaction – demonized to the point where now we are seeing this vitriol being aimed at hobbyists, shops, manufacturers, and content creators.
My own take on this is that this anger is merely spill-over from feeling marginalized, like you don’t have a voice, and that your opinions are not being represented in things that you read, policies being made, etc.
I can tell you that amongst the automotive media, Power Automedia included, opinions are mixed on EVs. Some are early adopters, embracing the technology. Some believe EVs lack the soul of an ICE vehicle. Some are somewhere in-between.
Personally, I am in the latter category. I love technology, but also have little tolerance for recalls, flaws, imperfections and lack of infrastructure which precludes me from being a true early adopter. I must also account for the fact that the sound of V8s specifically are what got me into cars, so much so that at certain points in my life I would not own anything that did not have a V8 (to the detriment of my bank account). And I mean this literally, I didn’t even like the sound of a V12 – and certainly not a V10.
Fast forward to 2023 and an LS swap is no longer a novel idea. It’s nearly become the status quo. EV swaps have become the new frontier. It’s a way to hot rod your vehicle in a new and exciting way, the same way LS swaps were in the early aughts. I’m not sure if I would invest my hard-earned money in doing an EV swap just yet, but I do embrace them and those that do them as part of our hobby. And I think you should, too.
Before you start firing off those angry emails, hear me out. The people doing EV swaps are not government officials and policy makers. They are hobbyists and builders just like you. They are not responsible for mandates on gas mileage or vehicle production. Their existence in no way impedes your own in the hobby. In fact, the larger our hobby is the more powerful it is in being able to dictate policy and representation in government. Imports received a similar treatment, and since that side of the hobby shrank it has only made our position weaker.
The very same principle can be applied to not just EV swaps, but the Teslas, Mach Es, etc from which we pilfer these parts. Not only are genuine hot rodders getting into them, but it’s become an area of growth in our industry of first-time enthusiasts. We’ve talked to several manufacturers of aftermarket parts for EVs, who said that only about 25% of their customers have experience modifying vehicles. Said another way, 75% of customers for EV aftermarket parts are new enthusiasts. In terms of the entire hobby, it’s a small but growing number.
Let’s face it, even if we want to simply maintain the size of the automotive hobby we need new enthusiasts to replace the older ones that have passed. This sort of growth is not only healthy but needed. Again, the larger our hobby is the more leverage we will have to dictate policy in the government.
The other way to leverage the government is through money. Become a SEMA or PRI member and donate to the Political Action Committee (PAC). It’s no wonder this country is so infatuated with cheese, given the dairy farmers spent $7 million last year on lobbying. If you want V8s to be as popular as McDonald’s cheeseburgers and Taco Bell quesadillas, we’re all going to have to chip in.