The price isn’t right
Without government incentives, Australians won’t see some of the world’s cleanest cars
GREEN talk is cheap, but electric vehicles are still too expensive for Australia, says the local arm of Mercedes-Benz.
Mercedes spokesman David McCarthy says the maker would love to bring in some of the electric cars that starred at the recent Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Berlin – but would get no government help. Price is the main barrier to bringing the cars here,’’ he says.
Most countries where electric vehicles are sold have a purchase incentive, and there’s no sign of that happening here.
Perhaps some of the tax taken on luxury cars and GST on every vehicle should be put back on the table to get people to change. Otherwise all the government talk of being green is cheap, while electric cars still aren’t.’’
The Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell at Challenge Bibendum is a solid argument for encouraging the technology.
Who would have thought a delivery van could be exciting? A drive of the electric workhorse got us all glowing with the prospect of replacing a city’s herd of CO -belching light haulers with alternatives that use no fuel and have no emissions.
A Mercedes engineer at Bibendum told Carsguide a right-hand drive version would follow the fleet of left-hand drive vehicles rolling out in Europe.
Operators would appreciate the low load floor, any owner would welcome the minuscule fuel bill and the driver comforts would make the city circuit bearable.
But the Vito wasn’t the only sensible star at the world’s leading green car fest, which ran the full range from real-world to really weird. Among the 300-plus vehicles at the Challenge Bibendum were several that would work well in Australia.
Prime candidates included Peugeot’s little electric i0n city car with its 150km range and the 308 sedan using new e-HDi diesel hybrid technology, shared with the sibling Citroen C-Zero.
And Volvo is literally plugging away, with the electric C30 and plug-in hybrid V60 looking like sensible urban solutions.
Among the curiosities was the Elemo SAM, a flimsy electric threewheeler in which the driver and passenger sit in tandem. For the unlucky rear-seater, this means a contortion to get into the SAM and then having the front seat slid back between your splayed legs. Women with skirts need not apply and even those with pants could find it confronting.
Among the insect-like inventions that are slowly building colonies in European are the Twike, which is both twee and terrifying. The Tazzari Zero is a cartoon-like urban EV’’. And the unmanned Ligier mini people-mover is a glimpse into the horror of a world where the driver no longer even exists.
Clean scene: The Vito E-Cell delivery van; (below) Ligier’s driverless peoplemover