The perfect strike -by Paul Baldacchino during Malta Open

1,000km electric car driving experience in Malta. Electromobility Malta project

I have now surpassed 1,000km on the Mitsubishi iMIEV electric car.  I am enjoying the test drive and wherever I go, people keep asking me questions about the car. Invariably, I need to dispel myths about electric cars; that they only last a few km per trip; that they cannot be driven fast enough; cannot be driven in the rain; that batteries have a short life span. None of this is true. The technological breakthroughs by the car manufacturers are taking electric cars to new limits due to advancements in battery and power technologies.  Batteries are now very reliable and long lasting, the autonomy range for each charge keeps increasing and the driving power rivals that of any city car. I did notice a couple of amazed drivers when I overtook them with ease.  The car is capable of 130km per hour, though I have not tested this claim yet...

It takes 6 to 7 hours to fully charge the battery and this usually gave me an autonomy of just over a 100km. The car could easily render 140km autonomy if driven gently under 50km per hour and without passengers, which is not my case since 60% of my trips are with passengers on board and I am usually driving at speeds over 50km per hour, where allowed.  The higher speed will inevitably lead to wastage in braking particularly in urban driving.  In any case, shorter charges are possible if the car simply needs a boost for a trip.

In order to log 1,000 km, the car required approximately 75 hours of charging time, consuming about 2 units per hour.  75 hours charged @ 17c3 (domestic rates tier 2) times 2 units per hour would amount to eur26.  Driving a 1,000km in my petrol Citroen Picasso would require about 82 litres of petrol at a cost of euro118.  Therefore, savings stand at higher than 75%.  As electricity rates go down and fuel prices increase, the savings gap will widen further. I will continue to log the charging time and mileage to confirm the workings over 2,000km.  Bearing in mind that in my case all the electricity consumed came from free solar energy produced from my PV plant, the savings in euro and carbon footprint becomes significant.

The car has an efficient energy recovery system. When the accelerator is released (engine break equivalent) the vehicle will utilise the inertia of the vehicle to turn the motor into a generator which momentarily recharges the battery. This way, all the downhill driving or any deceleration helps to recover energy and will increase the driving range.  The iMIEV has three driving modes, marked D, B and C on the gearshift panel. D mode is for urban driving, tuned to be powerful but energy efficient; B mode increases regenerative braking during downhill driving and will slow the vehicle down whilst recovering energy; C mode is for economic driving on main roads (similar to the 5th gear on a standard car but usable at medium speed).

Key Benefits of electric vehicle:
1. Extremely quite drive.  No vibrations or noise -no driving stress -the music sounds better;
2. Zero-emissions driving. This is noticeable if manoeuvring in garages or alleyways. I charge the car with power generated from my PV panels eliminating pollution (if charging is required from the grid, the CO2 emissions at the power station to charge the car only equate to 30% of the CO2 of a petrol city car);
3. Sufficient driving power - Strong acceleration is achieved through a compact and highly efficient permanent magnet synchronous motor, which generates high torque at low speeds;
4. Cost cutting.  Even when factoring the cost of electricity, the running costs of the electric car stands at only 1/4 of the cost of petrol.   An owner would also benefit from lower costs for registration, annual road licence and a grant of eur5,000 from the Scrappage Scheme. Servicing costs also plummet since the car has only 4 major working parts compared to over 300 in a typical internal combustion engine. There is no oil sump nor any oil and petrol filters to change.
5. Style.  Driving the silent and innovative electric car is cool and enjoyable. Parking is really easy with a great turning circle.

My next car will be an electric car, the deliberation is simply on the model to go for. 

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  1. Great to hear about your experience, it is an excellent platform that we are all endorsing the excellent benefits of going electric.

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