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While we keep drilling, UK is ‘GoinGreen’

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Here’s a peek at what we’re missing across the pond. While us Yanks are frantically searching for new places to stick our petroleum feeding tube, car buyers in Britain are snapping up the new G-Wiz, an electric microcar that sells for the equivalent of about $10,000.

Made by a company called GoinGreen, the G-Wiz is billed as “the car that doesn’t cost the earth.” It can reach up to 40 mph and runs for 40 miles on a single charge. Its batteries can achieve an 80 percent recharge in 2.5 hours — just right for restoring power after that lunchtime dash to In-N-Out Burger.

The car’s body panels are made of ABS plastic, which can be recycled. You can get the Wiz-mobile fully optioned with leather seats, CD player, and a trick prewarming feature that heats the interior up before you have to climb aboard on a winter day.

Is it ugly? Emphatically, yes. But not as bad as many of the electric car designs we saw at the dawn of this technology.

Is it practical? Certainly not for everyone. But it would work great as a commuter ride for somebody who lives in the suburbs and plants themselves in a downtown cubicle during the week. In other words, most of us.

Will we ever get them here in the U.S.? Doubtful. Instead, we are gleefully waiting 10 years for hydrogen fuel cell cars, and hoping desperately that we’ll have somewhere to refuel them when that happens.

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  • Sfc Ski

    40 miles and recharge in 2.5 hours? Just the thing for driving from Dallas to San Antonio, or New York to Boston, or…wait a minute, the countries too big!

    I am sure commuters could use a car like this.

    So, what source of fuel are we going to use to generate the electricity to power and recharge this vehicle?

  • I could drive into town and back home once a day with it, assuming I didn’t mind being run off the road or ticketed for driving under the minimum legal speed on the highway.

    Frankly, this doesn’t sound any better than the Chrysler GEM car which is widely availalbe in the US now, and it’s just a jumped-up golf cart.

    <img align=”right” src=”http://images.forbes.com/images/2003/10/21/vow_420x280.jpg”>Personally, I’ll take the tZero roadster, which can go at full highway speeds, accelerates faster than a Ferrari and has a range of almost 300 miles on a charge. I just wish I had $100K or so sitting around to buy one. Porsche also has an electric version of the Spyder, but I have no details on it.

    GM/Saturn also has a new vehicle called the EV1 which supposedly goes up to 60mph with a 90 mile range, but I have yet to see one for sale anywhere. The telling thing here is that the EV1 came out in 2003 and was discontinued after one model year because GM already considers electric car technology to be a dead-end. They’re switching over entirely to fuel-cell based vehicles for their alternative fuel projects. If GM cars didn’t suck so much I’d be eager to get one of their hybrid pickups which came out last year, or one of the fuel cell pickups that are just going into production.

    BTW, your G-Wiz is made in India from what I can tell and not yet available in the US, but from what I can find there are better options either available now or soon to be available, even though fuel cell cars are going to make them all obsolete anyway.

    There might something here worth developing into an article.


  • David JK

    Hi – I am an owner of the electric car described, based in London, UK – and it works very well indeed. Through the UK’s electricity trading system we can buy renewable-generated electricity – of which the car uses very little. It excells in urban and suburban driving, of which there is plenty: children to school and friends; visit local clients; occasional drive to Central London (the car is exempt from the wekday congestion charge of over $12.00 per day.

    It may have a limited range and top speed, but towns are congested and dense, so neither is a limitation – though it may not be ideal for a sprawling American cit (think Tucson…) but then, these are not brilliant for the environment in themselves!