This month I have had the opportunity to test drive an electric car, the diminutive G-wiz.
It looks far less cartoon like in the flesh and seems sturdily constructed. Both front seats lie next to each other because there is no gear lever and the handbrake is mounted beneath the dashboard reminiscent of many cars of the 1930’s
It was a cold day but the electric heater worked well. The small cabin was cosy yet offered plenty of leg room for tall drivers. There are even seats in the back for taking passengers short distances – but too cramped for comfort.
Initial impressions were favourable with a smooth accelerator action and tiny turning circle.
Unfortunately my big feet knocked a relay soon into the drive and the engine stopped. The co-driver quickly re-plugged the item but clearly a small guard should be fitted to protect this item.
Road humps had to be crossed with care in the little G-wiz. The limited suspension travel needs strong springs to prevent bottoming out. Is this why Chelsea tractors are so popular in towns? – they would cope well with road humps.
On the open road the G-wiz bowled along well and kept up with the traffic along the 40mph speed limited road. Just for fun I took a roundabout at speed and the stiff suspension and low centre of gravity came into its own. Handling was precise and reassuring.
Braking is regenerative so that the motor acts as a generator and recharges the battery. Initial braking was great but just as the car came to a halt the regeneration stopped abruptly. You have to adjust for this when you drive. Perhaps the electronics need further development.
I would feel happy owning a G-wiz though much of the fun would be gained by adding modifications. The G-wiz is an interesting retro-step into the future and I will be following the development of the electric car with interest.