Monday, March 1, 2010

How much acceleration performance do you need?

Over the last 50 years cars got faster and faster. Car buyers in the 50ies or 60ies were okay with an acceleration performance of more than 20 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h. In the 70ies it was required to have to be between 10 and 20 seconds, really fast cars could go below 10 seconds. Today however almost any car accelerates in less than 10 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, even Diesel engine people movers. Sportcars are expected to be substantially below 5 seconds, Supercars below 4 seconds. Most midrange saloon cars can go in 6 to 8 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h today. The latest Volkswagen Polo GTI speeds in less than 7 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, that's comparable to what a Ferrari 308 GTB could do in the late 70ies. There's a clear correlation between power and acceleration performance, and there's of course also a correlation between the power to weight ratio and the acceleration performance.
But how much of this do you really need? Wouldn't 10 seconds for 0 to 100 km/h be enough for today's traffic conditions? And how much lighter could we build cars, if we could live with let's say 120 hp instead of 200 or 300 hp for a saloon car? Only companies like Aptera, Mindset or other ecocar manufacturers do think along these lines. And it probably fits the demand in the market to go stronger and heavier, but what was first the egg or the chicken?

3 comments:

John L said...

Good point.

lupoch said...

Acceleration is addictive, like drugs... And once you get used to sub 5s 0-100 acceleration, it's tough to get back...

Bruno von Rotz said...

well, I wonder how many people actually have ever done the sub 5 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h with their own car! Thanks to launch control and the likes it's probably much easier today, but I would assume very few people did the sprint below 7 seconds in the reality regardless of the car they own.