To be completely honest, I was never into all the hype around climate change but as a former motoring journalist, I just had to give an all-electric car a try...and what a transformation in my driving expectations!
The more I drove the test vehicle – an MG ZS EV the more impressed I became, I was hooked almost from the start...didn’t want to hand the test car keys back to the dealership. Later, having gone for the MG hook line and sinker and personally experiencing the fantastic cost savings possible...knock out!
Always drawn to the technical (geek) side of motoring, often glossing over the running costs and missing the sheer pleasure of driving, I was immediately taken by the MG’s viability as an alternative to diesel and petrol propulsion. It is so damn quite, accelerates like it's on steroids and economical in the extreme. Oh yes, and it doesn’t chuck out all those noxious gases.
Front passenger accessibility was a key factor when we came to change vehicles this time and although the MG sits lower than the big SUVs, the entry/exit level is great. The MG is a spacious four-door with ample boot capacity.
OK it’s not a Tesla (the ultimate in EVs) but this little flyer with 0-62mph in a fraction over 8 secs, has it all for, like me, your average driver. And it does offer a high spec level with leather seats, air con, cruise control, electric door mirrors, heated front seats and a host of other goodies thrown in. If anything this car is slightly over-specced in places. It may be useful for some, but for example, the lane drift warning beeper is annoying and sounds even when your in the middle of your lane however it’s easily switched off – a relief after I studying the (excellent) owner’s manual...whew!
And that's why we’ve become, not tree-huggers or a placard-carrying environmentalists, but complete and utter converts to electric vehicle motoring.
The MG came complete with two connector cables – one for home and the other for network charging of the batteries which are located under the rear seats.
Now my only small gripe with the MG is its lower-than-I-would-like mileage of 163 mls on a full battery charge. However, as we rarely go long distances and with the increasing number of charge points around the country (many of them FREE) it isn’t an issue and anyway, home charging is easy and (with certain utility companies) cheaper after midnight until 4.30am. While waiting for a home charge unit to be fitted, it’s a simple matter of connecting via a three-pin plug in the garage.
Motorway service areas, increasing numbers of supermarkets and now even some petrol stations (Shell being the first) there are few problems re-charging...and with battery technology improving by the hour (Tesla have cracked it with 300+ miles on a full charge) confidence in the market is rocketing, especially with the recent hike in fuel prices.
Since taking delivery of our car in July, we’ve now clocked up over 2,500 miles and having kept a detailed and accurate record of battery charging shows that our ‘fuel’ cost has been under a £tenner. Amazing! It’s all about discipline and this is where, possibly, some (unconverted) motorists might find it difficult in adjusting. Always having been a bit of a sceptic of car manufacturers' claims on economy, and as a frugal Scot, I did think twice about going all-electric – for about FIVE minutes!
This car even charges when you’re braking, even just taking your foot off the accelerator puts power back into the car’s batteries.
The longest trip we've so far made in the MG is 85 miles on a short break holiday from Ayrshire to Killin near Loch Tay. The night before I plugged in to the Charge Scotland network just down the road from our house, took the dog for an hour’s walk and I had a full charge for the trip. Arriving at the hotel and there was still almost 80 miles left in the battery pack. The hotel (many are now catching on) had a charging point (free) so a four-hour top up while we settled in and had dinner gave us confidence in the next day’s 100 mile round trip to Oban. Back on charge that night and plenty of ’juice’ for the return home. Even on a three night stop-over on the Isle of Arran, our hotel at Blackwaterfoot had its own excellent charge point. Free motoring round the island!
Ok, so free EV charging won't always be with us – the Scottish government are using it as a carrot to get us all out of diesel and petrol vehicles by 2030 (an impossibility in my view) – it can still work out significantly cheaper than conventional motoring
In summary,the MG, it’s made in China (!) - my only serious complaint – is well designed, technically competent, economical and a complete joy to drive.
If I have one issue, and its not with the car, it’s the time it has taken to get a home charge unit fitted to our house. BP Pulse must be inundated with requests as it’s been almost 8 weeks since we applied for a unit!!
Now totally converted, this form of motoring has really changed our views on pollution and each time we are out in the MG, we feel rather smug that we’re making our own little contribution to saving the planet.