Here’s a guest post for you from Ecotricity staffer Dave. He was recently asked to put the Nemesis to the test as a commuter vehicle! Here’s his thoughts:
A few weeks ago I was asked if I would mind driving the Nemisis for a few weeks. We apparently needed to get a few miles on it and test it in ‘normal’ daily use – whatever that means?
I work in the Ecotricity offices in Stroud and live in Worcestershire, a daily commute of about 51 miles in each direction, assuming that I take no detours on the way home. My normal mode of transport is either a diesel VW or a motorcycle that each do around 50mpg for the journey (over £12 per day in fuel).
Well, the chance to drive a car like the Nemisis was too good an opportunity to miss so of course I welcomed it with open arms, I mean the chance to drive a super car that would do 0-100mph in 8 seconds doesn’t present itself every day!
So then the reality dawned on me, this was a prototype that hadn’t been used much more than the few miles from Dale’s house to work or the odd test for promotional purposes and now I was planning to do over 100 miles per day including a 25 mile stretch in each direction on the motorway. The first thing that I did was to get my warm coat and the numbers for the recovery company as I fully expected some late nights sitting on the side of the M5 waiting for a recovery truck.
I tentatively took it on its first trip home from Stroud about 3 weeks ago and spent the whole trip watching the volt reader on the dashboard as I didn’t think it would get me home, every sound convinced me that it was about to come to a painful halt and leave me stranded.
I got it home and put it on charge. That meant running the cable the 5 feet from the parking place in my rear garden to the wall socket that was to be the charging point – it was on charge quicker than it would have taken me to open the fuel cap on my VW and put the diesel gun in the hole. As I generally don’t use my vehicle in the evening it was no big deal, I just left if on charge until bed time when it had charged enough to ensure that I would get back to Stroud the next day.
The next morning was pretty straight forward, no worrying about whether I had enough fuel, just get in and drive. The only change to normal was the lack of a heater or radio but a pair of gloves and my iphone soon sorted those issues out.
By about the 3rd day of commuting I found that I had stopped thinking about how many volts were left on the battery, no more than the odd glance at the fuel gauge in my own car anyway, and I was able to relax into simply enjoying driving a small sports car. The practice of charging it when I get home at night and again when I arrive at work added little to my journey time and soon became the norm.
I didn’t realise how much the charging routine had become the norm until last week when I needed to take my VW to work and upon leaving home at 5.45am to go to the gym before work, I found the fuel light was on and I had to find a petrol station that was open at that time – what a pain that was. I had very quickly become confident that I didn’t need to even think about it in the electric car and the experience was literally the opposite to what I had expected when I started driving it.
I do get a buzz from turning heads when I drive the vehicle as it does look special and sounds unlike anything else on the road. As for the performance, the only way I can describe it is like putting your foot down in this car as being similar to a jet accelerating down a runway! The sound and the sheer torque of the power delivery is a very similar experience.
I do take every opportunity to take friends and acquaintances for a drive in the car so that they can experience the drive and spread the word, but I need to mention one particular occasion when I took a friend out in the car who races cars on the track and works at a BMW dealership. He had the opportunity to drive an Audi R8 only the day before and when I took him in the Nemesis and let him experience the acceleration, he just sat there astonished by the sheer thrust and felt that he needed to re-calibrate his own understanding of what could be achieved as it simply blew the Audi out of the water!
After 3 weeks of commuting to work, plus some weekend leisure driving I have now covered over 1500 miles in the car and the biggest compliment I can give it is that it’s nothing out of the ordinary! It is just a very quick 2 seater sports car that happens to be powered by electric. It has a range of around 100 miles and with a charging point at work I am able to easily make it fit into my normal daily routine, even with my longer than average commuting distance to work.
I certainly would consider having an electric car as one of the two vehicles in my family. My wife could easily use an electric vehicle as her daily car as she rarely covers more than 100 miles per week.
I know that if we were to do longer journeys for holiday or visiting family who live in the North of England, then we would currently need to use a conventional petrol/diesel engine, but I am certainly a convert and as the Ecotricity Electric Highway becomes more widespread and fast charging technology becomes the norm I see no reason why my next car will need to be anything but electric.
I would like to try a normal saloon car like the Nissan Leaf for a week or two to see how they compare when you have the additional benefits of rear seats and some boot space as if I’m honest, that is all I have missed during this experience.