Plug it in and fill it up: the joys of a G-Wiz
Lisa Markwell is the editor of The Independent on Sunday. She was previously executive editor of The Independent, i and The Independent on Sunday and has edited the features pages, and both the Saturday and Sunday supplements. She writes comment pieces for the papers and restaurant reviews for the New Review. Lisa has worked across a variety of newspapers and magazines and can now tick off every publication cycle from daily to quarterly. She is an enthusiastic foodie, mother of two teenagers and drives an electric car. She is writing a book about adoption.
Monday 23 June 2008
The school run, weekly shop, daily commute, late-night taxi alternative... owning a car in the city is an expensive business – to say nothing of the added cost to the environment.
Look around central London these days and you'll see a tiny little roller skate of a car parked on almost every street. The G-Wiz, with its green and economic credentials, is here to stay.
My G-Wiz can accommodate me, my husband and two children. With the back seat folded down, it's possible to fit in a week's groceries. It is immune to the £8 daily congestion charge, and costs mere pennies to "fill up".
In these taxing times, being able to cruise past the petrol stations is fantastic. The G-Wiz runs on electricity: just plug one end of a cable into any old domestic three-pin socket, and the other into the car where a petrol cap would usually be. Voilà!
It's a curious experience, driving an electric car. For one thing, it's silent, so watch out for careless jaywalkers. It's a tiny machine, able to squeeze through gaps in traffic. And instead of gears, there's F for forward, R for reverse and B for boost, if you're at the lights with someone nudging your rear bumper.
But there are limitations. It takes eight hours to fully charge the battery, which then lasts for 40 miles – jaunts out of the capital are out the question. The rear seats only sensibly fits small children – adults would struggle to get in.
And, for speed freaks out there, I was happy to reach 45mph on an open stretch of road, but that's about it. For buzzing about the urban sprawl with a clean conscience and a full wallet, the G-Wiz is hard to beat.
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