The Ups and downs

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - PAUL POT­TINGER CARS­GUIDE EDI­TOR paul.pot­tinger@cars­guide.com.au

IT’S A well-known if shak­ily founded maxim that di­abol­i­cal re­sults come in threes. Last week, as the na­tion reeled from theWal­la­bies’ bot­tom­less ca­pac­ity to dis­ap­point and the Soc­ceroos’ wretched­ness, we could but won­der what fresh hell awaited. Fear not. As the above re­sults were numbly reg­is­tered, Cars­guide took on the task of com­plet­ing the hat trick, joy­ously los­ing the in­ter­na­tional E-Up Rally by get­ting across the line first.

The pur­pose of this eight­na­tion tour­ney, held from and for 100km around Bensberg Cas­tle near Cologne, is to in­tro­duce the lithium ion bat­tery-driven e-Up.

It sounds like a York­shire­man’s oath but is the most ef­fi­cient and in­deed tol­er­a­ble elec­tric com­muter car we’ve yet en­coun­tered. Fully charge­able from your wall socket in some six hours, it has a the­o­ret­i­cal range of 150km.

Af­ter 40 km of hy­per milling per­spi­ra­tion, how­ever, Glenn But­ler and I in the Aussie flag-stamped e-Up were un­done by bore­dom— and hu­mil­i­ated when over­taken by a FordKa.

Boost­ing the air­con, we over­took the field, es­pe­cially our cousins froma land to the north with their in­ter­est­ing habit of brak­ing hard on ex­it­ing a cor­ner. We at least as­cer­tained that the four-seat com­muter can drive ef­fi­ciently at the speed limit.

Hence the or­gan­is­ers were un­pre­pared when we fin­ished 45 min­utes ahead of sched­ule. We in turn were be­mused to be greeted by hun­dreds in a gala podium fin­ish. Cham­pagne and mi­cro­phones were thrust at us.

Yet we came stone mother­less eighth us­ing 11.3 kilo­watt hours for a score of 60. The win­ning Poms used barely seven and scored 260. Even so, we some­how had 44 km range re­main­ing.

The Ger­mans felt this the day’s most im­pres­sive re­sult, given we’d driven it as we would a con­ven­tional VW Up.

Which­was our point. The e-Up is but the re­motest chance for Aus­tralia but zero-emis­sion mo­tor­ing is a real pos­si­bil­ity the day govern­ment ceases prof­it­ing by car sales and grant sEVs the con­ces­sions they are due.

Then com­pa­nies can talk se­ri­ously of run­ning green fleets and pri­vately owned pub­lic charg­ing points will flour­ish as they do in the firstworld.

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