Friday, July 22, 2011

the buzz box goes home

The buzz box went home this week - our trial is officially over, and aside from the formal surveying part of the trial, I thought I would reflect on our experience with this unique vehicle (you can read my previous posts on the trial here, here and here).

My overall feeling about the car is very positive. This is what I liked about it:
~ It's all electric - a step in the right direction from an environmental perspective
~ It's easy to drive - small, but perfect for the city or just around town. Four people fit comfortably.
~ The driving position is high (good vision), and getting little kids in an out of car seats is easier than a normal car because of the extra height
~ The electric engine is nippy - no lags, just power on demand. Better than I expected
~ It is amazingly easy to park - probably my favourite thing about driving it!
~ I have loved talking to people about it - so many people have been interested in what it is and how it works. I've had lots of people stop and talk to me in carparks and on the street. The feedback I've had from people has been 100% positive
~ It used far less electricity than I expected to charge it - almost un-noticable which is amazing considering that we were charging it every 3-4 days

For balance, here are the things that I didn't like much about the car:
~ The range of the charged engine - about 80km (give or take depending on drive mode and terrain). It's just not long enough. Without public charging stations and/or very fast charging (it takes 6 hours to charge a tank from empty) it is frustrating and easy to get caught out.
~ While electric vehicles are a step in the right direction, if our electricity continues to come from unsustainable sources (in Victoria's case, brown coal) it's hard to argue the full environmental benefits
~ The price of the car has just been announced ... $48,000. In my opinion, too expensive relative to other hybrid (and non-hybrid) options that offer more space and more reliability. This car will be available to buy from August.

It has been wonderful to be involved in this trial - I am truly grateful to the Victorian Government (especially the Department of Transport) for running it and seeking the experiences of real people in order to improve the product. There are some exciting things happening in this area at the moment, which is heartening. If you'd like to keep up to date with what's happening with the trial and future developments with electric cars in Victoria, visit this website.

Thanks to many of you, too, for your interest in this project. I have loved reading your comments.


CurlyPops said...

It's been really interesting to read about - thanks Nic!

Naturally Carol said...

It has been an interesting trial to read about and to now read your summary. I think you made the same kind of comments I would have after reading about your adventures with this trial.