Tuesday, April 19, 2011

buzz box update

The Buzz Box (aka the electric car we are trialling)  is travelling well. As a result of lots of comments and emails about the car we are trialling, I thought I would give you an update. First of all, I should say that I am not being paid to do this trial or for my comments. The car is loaned to us for 3 months and we provide feedback to the State government, to give them information in order to decide if electric cars and their infrastructure should/could be rolled out in Victoria.

So, we've had the buzz box for a couple of weeks now. Mr 4 and I drive around in it most days. We tend to just travel locally as the range of the car still worries me. It seems to do about 80km on one charge. We've been recharging it every 3-4 days depending on how much we've been out and about (I don't like driving it with less than a quarter of a "tank"). We did the longest drive we've done today - about a 45km round trip. It still had about half a "tank" left, but I didn't use the air conditioner at all to conserve energy. My biggest concern is the situation where you have enough charge to get to and from where you're going, but none for a contingency like a long detour or traffic jam. The grand plan for electric cars is to have public charging stations all over the city, but for now, the only place I can charge it is at home, so we don't stray too far. I think for these cars to be viable, the range has to at least double, and be accompanied by a vast network of charging stations.

Stuff I love about the car - it's pretty zippy and keeps up with traffic no problem. It is an absolute breeze to park because it is so small, and because the wheels are located on each corner of the car (the turning circle is amazing!). I love the high seating position, and it's super easy if you have to lift kids into car seats. The boot is small, but has enough room for the groceries. Extra items fit pretty well in the back seat. The footwells are deep too which is handy.

Stuff I don't love about the car - no curtain airbags. The Victorian Government (through the TAC) is doing a big advertising campaign about curtain airbags, so it surprises me that they didn't demand them to be fitted to these vehicles. Lack of interior lighting at night. The cabin is in total darkness, so you have no idea if you are in park or drive without putting the overhead light on - very irritating.

All in all, I'm still enjoying driving it. Mr 4 thinks it's "the coolest" and is happy to drive around in a special car. He makes me laugh when we get in to go somewhere by asking if we have "enough power to make it"? Let me know if you have any questions or things you want to know. I'll do another update in a month or so. Thanks again for your interest.

Back to crafty posts tomorrow!


m.e (Cathie) said...

ooh, very intersting Nic!
I'd love to hear more updates & whether you notice a significant rise in your electricity bill.
sounds like a very cool car to have ♥

Emily said...

Regarding charging points other than home - perhaps the trial program should make available the locations of the other 'trialers' in some way - I know there is one just around the corner from my workplace here in Richmond.

Personally I like the electric car concept, but a couple of times now I've had quite a fright when one of them is on top of me before I know it (since they are essentially silent), and one of those times I was on a bike - I didn't like that much!

yardage girl said...

Cathie - I will keep you posted. I am interested to see how much it costs too.
Emily - privacy laws prevent us knowing the names or locations of other people participating in the trial. I know what you mean about the noiselessness - I think they should have some artificial noise (doesn't have to be powered).

teddybearswednesday said...

thanks for the update Nic it's all so interesting, it is pretty cute!
xoPS Do you wanna arange a time for the drop off?

Naturally Carol said...

I think I would be carrying a long extension cord in the boot just in case! Nic..I made up your lovely bunting and have it on today's post..excuse the photography..I'll see if I can't get some better pictures some other time! Thank you once again, I love it.

CurlyPops said...

I'm interested in Cathie's comment too. I wonder how much it costs to charge.
I'm also surprised about the side curtain airbags. I bought my last car somewhat based on that. How do you charge it if you don't have off street parking?

Tania said...

I bet Mr 4 loves the edge-of-seat drama associated with available power and making it to a destination! (my kids seem to quite enjoy that kind of crisis potential).

Brenda said...

I don't think 80km range would do for me, I'd have that used up just taking the kids to school of a morning.

I guess these types of cars are more suited for "city living" not for the country lifestyle....imagine hitting a kangaroo in this little electric car with no airbags, total disaster! I'm sorry to say Nic I think I'm going to have to stick with my Toyota Landcruiser.

Happy driving Nic!