Home' Open Road Western NSW : OR0717 Contents MOTORING
ELECTRIC WAY TO GO
One NRMA Member loves electric cars so
much she has owned four of them
“Over the past five years I’ve had the
privilege of owning four fully electric cars
– a Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, Tesla Model
X and a Renault Kangoo ZE electric van –
for work and personal use.
Prior to driving an electric car, I had little
interest in cars. I saw them primarily as a means
to get around and found no enjoyment in the actual
driving experience. However, since owning an electric car, I must admit I
enjoy the driving experience a lot more. It’s just so much more fun!
All fully electric cars have instant acceleration, something we tend to
forget in the excitement over Tesla’s ‘ludicrous’ and ‘insane’ acceleration
modes. Even the Nissan Leaf can leave a lot of internal combustion engines
behind when it takes off at the traffic lights.
Electric cars are also beautifully quiet. You don’t fully appreciate this until
you drive one for the first time and can actually hear all the noise from the
traffic around you. They also handle brilliantly because of their low centre of
gravity in having batteries underneath. Considerable savings are made on
fuel and maintenance costs. Plug-in battery electric cars are cheap to run
and maintain and have a lower cost of ownership compared to their petrol
and diesel counterparts. But perhaps the greatest pleasure of owning and
driving an electric car is the convenience of never having to visit a petrol
station ever again. It takes me just a few seconds to plug in when I get home.
I leave for work the next day with a full charge gained from the sunshine on
the solar panels on top of my house.
With an electric vehicle you’re helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
and improve the air that we all breathe. Try and imagine what it would be like
if all cars were electric and had zero tailpipe emissions and were powered by
100 per cent renewable energy. We could drive with our car windows wound
down more often and we might even see what those mountains in the
distance really looked like without smog obscuring them.
Hopefully the NRMA will continue to raise awareness of the many
advantages of electric vehicles and advocate for the rollout of more
charging stations at workplaces, car parks and shopping centres, so even
those without garages and driveways can enjoy owning an electric car.”
Sally Perini, Grose Vale, NSW
BMW’S DRIVERLESS VISION
Those who enjoy motoring might be
suspicious about autonomous cars, but
when BMW joins the conversation, even
the staunchest car enthusiast will stop
and listen. This is the company that has
for decades offered “pure driving
pleasure” and has no intention of
abandoning that time-tested position.
Back in June, Dr Alexander Kotouc,
global head of product management at
BMW i, flew out from Munich to talk about
the company’s plans for everything from
hybrid technology and electric cars to
holistic mobility services in mega-city
environments. On autonomous cars, the
BMW line diverts from some views that a
driver will become redundant.
In his presentation, Dr Kotouc offered
a scenario where a person would begin a
journey in heavy traffic and then reach a
sunny coastal road. BMW envisages a car
that can switch between autonomous and
manual control at the touch of a button.
Dr Kotouc believes it will be at least
2030 before autonomous cars have any
sort of significant presence on our roads.
Aside from the complex legal issues,
practical realities will slow the rollout.
“There will always be environments
when you have to drive yourself,” says Dr
Kotouc, using an example of the streets
of Mumbai, where even a human driver
struggles to cope with the chaos.
But the really tricky part, according
to Dr Kotouc, will be developing
technology to the point where occupants
are completely relaxed and trust the
vehicle to get them – or their children –
from A to B in total safety.
GREEN TO THE END
A funeral company in the UK has adapted one of the world’s
most popular all-electric cars, the Nissan Leaf, into an eco-
friendly hearse. Leverton & Sons has converted the Leaf
into an ‘Eco-Hearse’. The casket is placed along the entire
passenger side of the car and the passenger side doors
have been replaced, so family and friends can view the
casket. The vehicle’s convertor says the Leaf’s compact and
modern styling looks less depressing than traditional
hearses and it’s perfect for those wanting to minimise their
carbon footprint even after they’ve departed this world.
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19/6/17 3:21 pm
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