Driving a premium, all-electric car is a lot of fun. The instant torque, the quick acceleration, and the spaceship-like silence as one steps on the accelerator is something that simply could not be replicated in a car equipped with an internal combustion engine. While fun, though, these factors could also result in drivers not being aware that they are already driving past the speed limit.
In the Netherlands, this appears to be the case. According to new figures from CBS, NL’s national statistics office, 75% of the country’s 9,000 Tesla drivers have picked up a speeding ticket last year. That’s the highest proportion of speeding drivers from any car brand. Just below Tesla drivers are owners of plug-in hybrid cars, with 2/3 of PHEV owners being fined at least once for speeding.
In contrast, only 27% of petrol-powered car owners, and 46% of diesel car drivers have been given speeding tickets during the year. The CBS did not provide an explanation for the figures, though the agency did note that the different driving experience between electric cars and fossil fuel-powered vehicles are probably a factor.
With fossil fuel-powered vehicles, for example, it is quite easy to get a feel for the car’s speed by listening to the way the engine is operating. These sounds are entirely absent in electric vehicles; thus, it becomes easy for motorists to be utterly unaware that they are already moving too fast.
EV or not, though, it should be noted that driving too fast carries a lot of risks, especially in areas where there are a lot of vehicles present. As such, it is always the responsibility of drivers to make sure that they are driving within the speed limit. That said, it is a bit ironic to see Tesla owners as some of the most prominent groups of drivers who are prone to getting speeding tickets.
Part of this is due to the capability of the cars themselves. Electric vehicles, after all, are no longer slow and unwieldy. With the advent of the Tesla Roadster more than ten years ago to the emergence of the disruptive Model 3, electric cars are beginning to become vehicles that are superior to gas-powered automobiles in terms of power and and raw acceleration. The consistent performance of Tesla’s electric cars on the drag strip is a prime example of this.
If any, some countries are now starting to roll out regulations that favor electric cars. Last October, for one, the Austrian ministerial cabinet announced that it will be adjusting the speed restrictions for EVs traveling in Austria’s IG-L-Hundred zone, which covers a total area of 440 kilometers (273 miles). With the new rules in effect, owners of Teslas and other electric vehicles will be allowed to travel up to 130 km/h (80 mph) on the highway, 30 km/h (20 mph) faster than their fossil fuel-powered counterparts.
The Austrian government did not list the specifics of its initiative then, though statements from Minister of Sustainability Elisabeth Köstinger seemed to suggest that the top speed adjustments will only be given to all-electric vehicles like Tesla’s Model S and X, not hybrids like the BMW i8.