Petrolheads for the future

An intersection between enthusiasm and the new world order.

I’ve always struggled with the fact that I am a petrolhead but, at the same time, completely welcoming of an autonomous, connected, and electric (ACE) future. These two things seem at odds but that’s only because the media has pitted everyone against one another.

The more car enthusiasts I speak to, the more I realise they’re open to the new world order, too. Sure, there are some who are stuck in their ways and offended by the mere thought of an electric car but there always will be someone like that, no matter the discussion.

As much as I am happy to whizz around in a sporty little EV and take autonomous transport through cities, there’s still a place in this world for my love of motorsport, classic cars, hot hatches, and the burble of a V8.

For a long time, I’ve been thinking about creating something that acknowledges where car enthusiasts and sport fit into a world of ACE mobility.

I want to create balanced arguments and give insight into the areas that get left out of the conversation. This will also give voice to experts and share with you some of the cool innovations that are happening around the world to usher in this new era of how we move.

These articles won’t be on any regular schedule. Instead, if you subscribe, they’ll occasionally drop into your inbox when there’s something to say.

Join me in this conversation. Here are two of the articles I’m planning:

How green are EVs, really? — Every naysayer always tells me that EVs are so much worse for the planet than ICE vehicles. I’m going to collate all the facts because I have an opinion on this — based on what I know and the things I’ve read — but there’s so much more to this than simply ‘what’s greener’. There are slavery and child labour conversations to be had, on top of the usual stuff around battery manufacturing and so on.

What role will club motorsport play in an ACE world? — This is another question I want to answer. High-level electric series (Formula E and Extreme E) are paving the way for the future of motorsport but what will happen to club racing? Will costs skyrocket as teams need to switch to electric power? What about safety? Will ICE motorsport remain for the viewing pleasure of petrolheads? Will this see an increase in grid sizes when everyone’s daily driver is an EV?

These are just a sample of the kind of content I’ll be creating for this newsletter. If you have any ideas or feedback, feel free to reply to this email


About Jess Shanahan

Jess is an automotive journalist specialising in electric cars, connected tech, and the future of mobility. She regularly writes for The Guardian and Confused.com, and has appeared on the BBC, LBC, ITV and TalkRADIO to discuss motoring topics.

She’s worked with many of the big manufacturers — including Jaguar Land Rover, Peugeot, and BMW — as well as smaller companies involved in an ACE future. She can be found on Twitter as @jetlbomb and also writes the newsletter Jess of All Trades.