Thursday, 16 April 2009

Gee...that's NICE.

We were delighted to hear that the electric car company, NICE, have resumed trading as the London sales arm of AIXAM-MEGA Ltd. NICE, who had some of their vehicles at last year’s ‘Green Motoring Pavilion’ at the British Motor Show, went into administration in November. Where was their bailout? We asked at the time. So much for the Government rescuing the ailing car industry. Here was a company who were trying to solve the problems we have with cars and the pollution they create, rather than burying their heads in the sand, like some (most) manufacturers we could mention.

So it’s good news that they’re trading again. Electric cars certainly face a tough challenge when it comes to gaining credibility, but there are signs that things are starting to go in the right direction.

Think of the furore over the G-Wiz. With their limited range and limited speed, they seemed only an option for a few people (or perhaps that should be one or two relatively slim people – their size being a perceived problem too). But the average speed of traffic in London is 9 miles per hour. Do we really need a car that goes 120 mph? Surely that’s just like putting a shotgun in the hands of a sugar-drunk toddler?

Then the motoring journos started harping on about safety. ‘You’d be safer crouching in a wheelbarrow!’ one screeched like an over-zealous health and safety inspector. I looked at the figures and found that there have been NO serious accidents with G-Wizes. A bit of spin to scare people off, methinks… New ideas are so scary, after all.

I do have a problem though with the city exec with the two private regged Range Rovers, tootling into the city in his/her G-Wiz but using his/her gas guzzlers at all other times. ‘Look at me, I’m down with the kids,’ he/she seems to be saying. ‘I am so Green it hurts. Ouch.’

No mate, stop deluding yourself. You probably have solar panels (because your neighbours can see them) but no loft insulation (because they can’t). Why not take the tube into the city, or – whisper it – the bus? Or would that mean mixing with the hoi polloi, and possibly catching/smelling something nasty? Best to keep yourself cut off in your hermetically-sealed (and oh-so-fashionable) bubble.

It’s time that so-called ‘Green’ solutions were available to everyone, not just the rich few who can afford these sparkling new technologies. I don’t buy the ‘the rich need to buy these things, the price will come down, it will be available to all’ argument. Why should the less wealthy – that’s most of us – have to wait, and rely on the rich to buy these things on a whim? Interesting to see that there are going to be subsidies available for those who are wanting to buy a cleaner car. There are problems with the scheme but that’s no reason to dismiss it out of hand. Let’s see what the uptake is and the outcome – we may be pleasantly surprised.

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