Friday, 14 January 2011

My electric car is no more....

It is with some sadness that I report the demise of my little electric car. It would have been its fifth birthday this month. Much as I enjoyed using it and could feel smugly “green”, the practicalities eventually ground me down including the requirement for a new battery pack.

Certainly if you wish to drive into central London the economic benefits are very clear – no congestion charge and free parking in Westminster. There is also no road tax and it is in a low insurance group and costs very little to charge. But as I am retiring in the Summer I could not justify the expense.

There are negative consequences about being at the leading edge of technology. Although I believe that the newer models are improved (and hugely more expensive), the range is claimed to be up to 40 miles but it rarely is and certainly is half that during the cold weather and if your journey involves hills. The battery pack is only guaranteed for one year and is hugely expensive to replace. One can make an economic case for doing all that if you are taking advantage of everything I mentioned above but it is no longer justified. I would have had four batteries in five years – one of which was replaced free of charge because the first was faulty – although it took some months to find that out. Additionally, you have only one place to have the car serviced – so no shopping around if you are not pleased.

I am pessimistic about the medium term future of electric cars. There are certainly a number in the pipeline but they are very expensive so very much a rich(er) person’s whim.

So it is back to the Underground which has thankfully been very efficient since the beginning of the year. I am also reading War and Peace. Well not exactly reading – I have never managed to advance beyond a few chapters. I have downloaded an audio version which is exceptionally well read and I am enthralled.

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