Berlin – 20 seconds can change a life. Twist and turn it so that things suddenly stop and still feel good, better, even better. The life of Ove Kröger, for example. It was five years ago when he got into an Opel Ampera, started the engine, depressed the accelerator, and then the thing shot forward so fast, so quietly, so free from vibrations. Everything electric. Ove Kröger was very enthusiastic. On the phone he says: “After these 20 seconds, I knew this was it. After that, I dedicated my life to electromobility. ”He changed everything.
Now you should know that Kröger is no ordinary man who only made a personal change in traffic here. Not a normal car customer either, who might be startled by heavy weather events or worried children who exchanged electricity for gasoline. No, Kröger’s change of heart at the time was about as likely as the future of the German climate targets.
Kröger has always been someone who “shoots” kilometers, “drives” cars and motorcycles, someone who is called “petrol head” in America. Sting’s song of the same name says: “300 horsepower in my V8, almost 100 miles per hour, always in the red.” We say: He has gasoline in his blood. Or less auto-erotic: a speedster.
1002 hp, 9 liter displacement, 285 km / h after 400 meters
At the age of 18 and for 2000 DM Kröger bought a 1977 Ford Thunderbird, of course a V8, because of the bubbly sound. Ten years later, for the birth of his first son, he treated himself to a hot rod, and from then on it wasn’t far to drag racing, 1002 hp, 9 liter displacement, 285 km / h after 400 meters from a standstill Petrol-Kröger said: “The earth shakes, the air shakes – that’s unbelievable, that’s unique.” He drove for ten years. The Elektro Kröger says: “And then I sit in an Opel and notice that it works without it and how nice it is.”
So nice that Ove Kröger, now 52 years old, “moin”, lives in Reinfeld near Lübeck, wants to get others excited about electric cars too. Not necessarily for ecological reasons. But because it is more fun to drive, it is more relaxed to be on the E road, even on long journeys, yes, already today. He is convinced of it. And in order to prove all of this to an electro-skeptical public, it starts this Saturday the E-Cannonball, a so-called comparison trip from (almost) Berlin to Munich. Kröger asks several times: “Just don’t write races.” Because there is Section 29 Paragraph 1 of the Road Traffic Act: “Races with motor vehicles are prohibited.”
In a comparison drive, cars do not fly like cannonballs over the freeway, they rather glide along, and sometimes over a country road, if the route becomes shorter as a result. Because whoever combines the shortest route with the least amount of power consumption has a great chance of being the winner. There is at least a trophy for that.
The most prominent name in the starting field is Heinz-Harald Frentzen
Kröger says: “The original Cannonball was about speed and time, with us it was about efficiency, brains before lead, and the question: How do I get from B with as few charging stops as possible?” The first of 70 vehicles starts at 6.30 am Clock, in front of a hotel between Dahlewitz and Rangsdorf, located directly on the A10, all 70 participants When & by 7 p.m. have reached their destination in Munich. On the way there are partly unknown intermediate destinations before the start. The most prominent name in the starting field is Heinz-Harald Frentzen, a former Formula 1 driver who has been an electrical enthusiast since 2010. Immediately agreed when Kröger approached him.
The name “Cannonball” has a long and above all illegal history, and it begins with Erwin Baker, who in 1914 crossed the USA from coast to coast on a motorcycle in just under eleven days, and then reported on paths “like freshly plowed fields” . More than 100 other speed records new Baker set. So he got the nickname “Cannonball”. Not only did the man have gasoline in his blood, he might also drink it.
In any case, this ride in hell was a sensation, and soon there were imitators. To cut it short: on November 15, 1971, invented by the editor-in-chief of the renowned automobile magazine Car and Driver, eight vehicles started for the first “Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash”. A 12-cylinder Ferrari covered the 4628-kilometer route between New York and Los Angeles in 35 hours and 54 minutes, with an average of 19 l / km and 130 km / h. Speed controls were a problem that scouts and built-in radar detectors could be resolved. Later, the driver could also turn traffic lights to green.
Anyone who is flashed at the E-Cannonball or drives over on red receives 100 penalty points, only 10 if a sponsor sticker is missing, and there are many sponsors for the fourth edition. Kröger says: “The only problem on the way could be that a charging station doesn’t work.” Profit tip: Then you keep driving. There are 50,000 ways to recharge electricity across Germany. There are 13,000 petrol stations. Kröger says: “The combustion engines are at their end, nothing new is being developed by the manufacturers.” His prognosis: “In a few years a charging process will take five minutes.”
When you think of Cannonball, you might also think of Burt Reynolds and Farrah Fawcett and of 1981 “All hell is going on the highway”, that is, of “undemanding, puny entertainment”, as it is not entirely wrong in the lexicon of international films called. Or as the trailer promises: “This is the story of a freaky highway driver and his cute exhaust pipe.” In the end, it is a drowning poodle who decides the race.
From New York to Los Angeles in 44 hours, 25 minutes and 59 seconds
The e-cannonball, which – please don’t forget – is not a race, is the event of an industry that is booming, that is sure that the future belongs to it. Just one indication that this is probably true: The battery price, which makes up around 40 percent of the production costs for electric cars, is falling steadily. Kröger also speaks about this as an expert at events called “Alternative Autogipfel” or “Brandenburg Electric”. You can find him on YouTube, above all, on the “T&T Emobility” channel, 61,000 subscribers. T stands for technology, tips, talk, trends and of course Tesla. If you google “Doc Tesla”, you will find a motor vehicle expert with a focus on electromobility from Reinfeld near Lübeck, “moin”, who can explain why buyers of a Model 3 have to expect a rusty tailgate. Changing a life also means learning everything about electric motors.
Above all, the T stands for test drive, because this is what E-Doktor Kröger prefers to prescribe. The minimum dose is probably 20 seconds. So a life without petrol, for Krüger it is “a guerrilla revolution”. It is not from above, from politics, but from below, the car people, and everyone who drives an electric car is a multiplier. “When you buy something like that,” says Kröger, “then the neighbors and friends come and say: What is that, that’s nonsense. No, I say then, come on, take it for a ride – and bang, we have the next one. ”And maybe even more starters for the next e-cannonball.
Incidentally, illegal cannonballs are still taking place. An unofficial list of the best for electric cars has long existed. An American journalist has been leading it since last December, the one with his team in 44 hours, 25 minutes and 59 seconds from New York to Los Angeles, in a Porsche Taycan. This happens to be the electric car that Ove Kröger also owns. But don’t worry, the times are over, the gas foot doesn’t itch that much anymore. The former petrol head Ove Kröger is now even in favor of a speed limit on German motorways. Also because of the environment.
This text appeared in the weekend edition of the Berliner Zeitung – every Saturday at the kiosk or here as a subscription.