Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Driving an electric car

Shawn William and the Electric EchoOn a visit to Brisbane I had a short drive around the block in Shawn William's "Electric Echo". This is a Toyota Echo (Yaris) he converted himself by removing the engine and installing batteries.

This is a practical car within its limitations. It looks and drives like a small car. There is an odd buzz when you first turn it on, which is the power assistance for the brakes getting up to pressure. After that it is silent until you put your foot on the accelerator, when there is an immediate surge of power. There is an low electric motor whine, in place of a loud engine noise. The car accelerates briskly. This is a manual and you have to remember to use the clutch when restarting from rest as there is no engine idle sound to remind you there will be power as soon as you accelerate.

A clever touch is that Shawn has put a retractable electric power cable under the flap where the petrol cap would normally be. To recharge the car you simply pull the cable and plug it into a normal outlet. When charged the cable reels itself back in.

The car only gets around 30 km on a battery charge, but this would be adequate for the average commute or to the shops driving. Also Shawn has to remove the back seat to make the approval process easier.

This car is more practical for Australian use than the Indian Reva electric car. The Echo is bigger and more likely to be able to meet regulations for Australian cars and the expectations of Australian drivers.

1 comment:

Karl Tomato said...

Please Tom, check your gramma(!).