The End of Macho

Despite the evolution of society where the equality of gender has become a common theme, there will always be a difference between men and women. Men will continue to fight wars, men will become dictators and men will continue to dominate certain professions and men drive Formula One racers.

If we as men try to analyze the sense of being a man, we start to find out that at the base of our self-being is a certain feeling of manliness, something which is probably created by our genes. We have always performed certain roles in society including being the main breadwinner, the one who protects the family from outside threats, organizing the foundation of a place to live, and in many cases taking the big financial decisions.

At the base of our being there is a certain feeling of manliness. Some call this ego. We can even observe it with our kids. Why is it girls often play with dolls and boys play with autos, something which continues into adulthood? Now don't get mad. There are always exceptions to every rule, but in general, men retain this fascination with mechanical things, especially autos. It is something the car industry cultivates to make money.

When a family decides to purchase a new car, the woman considers a whole list of important features such as safety, room in the backseat for the kids’ car seat(s), the size of the boot (or trunk!) to store everything, shift or automatic, what color is mod and lots of other important features. Probably, in more than 80% of such cases, the last thing she is thinking about is horsepower and acceleration from zero to sixty. This is man stuff!

Car manufacturers build each of their models with several versions of the engine. Why? After all, the reason you buy any car is to drive from A to B safely without any demand on speed or acceleration. In fact, the same vehicle can cost up to 30% more with a bigger engine. This is to appeal to the feeling of power and speed at our core and is part of our macho.

So let us set the scene. We drive up to a red traffic light in our Porsche next to a family car on the inside lane. How many of us men wouldn’t be happy if this family sedan on the inside lane were to accelerate much faster away on green, especially if the driver were a woman with two screaming kids in the back seat? What would that do to our ego?

I have news for all men. This is about to happen!

The catalyst will be climate change. Not only will buying groceries in plastic packaging be frowned upon, hitting the gas pedal to feel the thrust of power and the sound of a snarling engine could be outlawed. This is why the world is turning to electric vehicles (EV’s) and in fact, many automobile manufacturers have named the date when combustion engines will be a thing of the past.

This presents the male ego with a problem. Even today you can purchase or lease a family sedan with an electric motor (EV) that is faster than almost every sports car at less than half the price! So even today, that small Tesla family sedan standing next to you at the traffic light could leave your Porsche in the dust! What will that do to your macho?

A quick analysis of the sports car segment of the automobile industry shows us the Tesla family sedan is quicker from 0–60 mph (0–100 km/h) than all the macho guzzlers I could come up with, not to mention it costs much less to acquire and maintain. Even the top Formula One (F1) speedsters cannot beat Tesla to 60 mph.

An important development has been the introduction of Formula E to the racing circuits. One of the questions now being asked is, how long before the sounds and smells of Formula One are a thing of the past? F1 has often been the development and evolution platform for combustion engines. Is this now being replaced by Formula E?

Back to the question of macho. In less than ten years from now, the criteria for purchasing a car will have changed. Horsepower will be replaced with kWh and distance per charge will be decisive. Whether you can reach 60 mph in four seconds will be irrelevant as 50% of all family cars can do it. To make things worse, they can all do it in almost complete silence. No more that feel of the pounding engine under the hood and the snarling sound of pure ego coming from the exhaust.

The good news is the car of the future will be cheaper, roomier, safer, and better for our environment. We men can just hope the Ferraris and Porsches of this world will include a software option that will reproduce the feel and sounds of the past. Then at least we can secretly maintain our ego.

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