Flying cars – the stuff of Popular Mechanics dreams for decades. Popular Mechanics

Well, well, well. My friend Brian Zinchuk doesn’t like electric cars. Well, he doesn’t hate them, but he has pointed out some current flaws in their everyday usability. (Yes, that is a real word) Maybe you’ve heard of him. He has himself some online magazine energy thing, and is tight with John Gormley and lots of political heavy hitters. Anyhow, Mr. Z is commenting on ‘lectric vehicles. Well, I may have a thing or two to say about that. (Editor’s note: this was addressed in a column recently, which you can read here.)

I’m gonna let all ya’ll in on a secret about electric cars. I have always wanted one. Ever since I was a little kid when my brother and I received a “TYCO AFX” slot car track for Christmas. It was a figure eight, with two very cool cars. I think my ten year old self was blown away by the sudden acceleration and how that same sudden acceleration would propel my very cool car right off the track. Awesome! It was literally hours of fun in the pre video game era. I secretly plan to buy another slot car track soon. (Christmas is in five months, honey!)

While that was a big influence on my desire for an electric car, there was an even bigger reason. Flying cars. I have always wanted a damn flying car. When I was a young guy in school I remember reading the aptly titled “Popular Science” and “Popular Mechanics” (side note, all mechanics are “popular” when your car is broke down.) The school library always had several issues on the magazine rack, all dog-eared from guys like me excitedly turning the pages to get a small glimpse of what our lives would be like in a few short years when we were out of school.

This Popular Mechanics cover is likely the vintage of when Brian Crossman was going to school. Popular Mechanics

Well, here I am, out of school for nearly, uh… well, a long damn time. And despite my best efforts (and by best efforts I mean good intentions) no electric flying cars. Well, at least not available to people like me. Why not? They’ve had nearly, uh, well a bunch of years to make it happen. Maybe I should lower my expectations for a minute or two and figure this out.

There are so many pros to owning an electric flying car. Like getting to work on time for starters. However, getting home late is guaranteed.

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“Honey, you’re late again.”

“Uh, well sorry babe, I had to work late.”

“Sandra told me you and Ken were racing again with your damn flying cars!”

“That’s a lie!”

“It was a barrel roll contest, and I won.”

“Not real hungry for supper though. Those barrel rolls make my tummy queasy…”

You could also get everywhere quickly, even when the roads where in rough condition. Tornado season could present some problems, though. (THERE is an episode of “Storm Chaser” you won’t soon forget.)

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Potential Problems

Now of course I’m not stupid or naive. (An ongoing debate with many friends, families and co-workers) Despite modern technology, I am quite sure there will be problems with electric (and flying) cars. Crashing for one. While a regular electric car crashes just like a regular fossil-fuel unit, occasionally those batteries do tend to catch fire in spectacular fashion. This leads me to believe that if my flying car crashes (a good possibility if I’m the driver, er, pilot), not only will I crumple said flying car, there is a good chance my family will save money on the cremation. (Kind of a lose-win??)

Getting these cars charged up can be an issue. I’m not a fan of waiting around, but if there is a Wendy’s (Mmmm Baconator) or an ice cream joint nearby, I guess I could make the best of the charging time wait. The extra pounds gained during charging time could affect my miles per gallon (electrons per kilometre?) This, in turn, increases the crash possibility of my flying electric car due to the excess calories I have incurred. At least my crash site would smell like bacon. (Mmmm bacon…)

I am certain the government and insurance companies would team up to take the joy out of my flying electric car fun. There would be getting a driver/pilot license for starters, and you know that road/sky test is gonna be a bitch. Then there would be all the stupid rules. How high or low you could fly and where you can take off and land and such. I’m thinking “buzzing the tower” may not go over too well.

Maverick (Me): “It’s time to buzz the tower.”

Goose (Wife): “No Mav, this is not a good idea.”

Maverick (Me): “Sorry Goose, it’s time to buzz the tower.”

Goose (Wife) “FFS”

 

This right here is enough reason to own a flying car. That and having your own “call sign.” Since Tom Cruise is using “Maverick”, I’ll have to come up with my own. I wonder if “Baconator” is taken. I suppose the flying electric car is gonna be pricey. But hell, if I can get one, I’ll sleep in that bad boy.

(Editor’s note: it should come with an optional electric frying pan for making bacon on the fly. Get it? On the fly?)

The truth is that electric vehicles are coming. The current technology and materials makes current mass production and implementation somewhat difficult, as well as all the issues Mr. Zinchuk listed in his article. In this part of the world they are not super-practical just yet. But the science is improving, and the battery storage and charging times will eventually be resolved. My prediction is that we will see a mix of electric, internal combustion engine, hydrogen and hybrid vehicles in the future. It is my hope that the vehicle you purchase and operate will be based on your needs at the time, and not some ineffective government mandates. (Imagine that) As with all things in life, the solutions need to make sense.

In 1903 when the first model “A” Fords were running around in limited numbers, there were many who pooh-poohed the idea of motorcars over horses. Just take a look at where we are at today. The funny thing about the future is that it seems pretty far away, but we always exist in what was the future to us not that long ago.

 

Brian Crossman is a partner with Independent Well Servicing in Estevan, Saskatchewan. If you are wondering if he would “buzz the tower”, the answer is a big “Hell Yeah.” (“Talk to me Goose”)

 

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Brian Zinchuk: No, I don’t hate electric vehicles. But I have a lot of hard questions about their widespread adoption

First electric Ford F-150 Lightning to reach Estevan seen in the wild, battery will take 13 hours to charge at that charger if it started at 15%