'Reverse speed' -- the new buzz

This month in England, stunt car driver Terry Grant was planning to wow crowds at the Goodwood Festival of Speed by driving an electric Nissan Leaf 90 miles an hour – in reverse.

Upon consideration, Goodwood organizers pulled the plug on the stunt, so to speak, saying it was just too dangerous.

And maybe they were right. Who wants to witness a stunt driver demonstrate something dangerous behind the wheel of an automobile?

But there's a bigger issue lurking behind this development: A new technology has apparently arrived with the advent of the electric car.

"Reverse speed."

Don't laugh. We're witnessing the discovery of unchartered marketing territory.

Your new vehicle does zero-to-60 in four-point-four, you say? Oh yeah? How fast does it do it in reverse?

Look at the maneuverability of this new sedan on a curvy road. Yes, but how well does it maneuver in reverse in emergency situations?

Sure, every vehicle jumps off the line when you put your foot on the accelerator. But now here is one more point of distinction for the marketing plan: My new model jumps off the line going backwards.

Traditional transmissions can give drivers just enough speed to back out of a driveway in a hurry. An electric car is not limited by a transmission. The electric motor doesn't care whether it's driving forward or backward.

You might think all day to come up with a really good reason to drive 40 or 60 or 80 miles an hour in reverse. But that's only because it's never been possible until now.

Now that it's possible, who knows what applications drivers might come up with – beyond daredevil stunt driving, that is.

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