This week, I took a trip to Epsom Racecourse for the Car of the Year 22. Arranged by Professional Driver Magazine, it is a rare opportunity to test drive cars back to back. There are many vehicles available from various manufacturers. Following my last blog ‘Breathing Space’, I can still have some time out. So, it was a privilege to travel down south and spend the day there.
I attended on day two. It was relatively quiet with so many people from the chauffeur industry simply too busy to visit. It is an opportunity to drive many of the new vehicles currently on offer as an EV (or Electric Vehicle). The regular type vehicles I drove included, the KIA EV6, Cupra Born, Volvo XC40 recharge and Lexus UX300e. In the executive sector were Mercedes S580e, Mercedes EQS and new BMW i7 (or 7 series electric replacement).
One thing which becomes immediately apparent with EVs is the lack of boot space. When batteries are below the floor, it really does eat into the luggage space available. On the flip side, the acceleration which some EVs offer is simply mind-blowing. It is crazy to think a modern electric family car is so quick. It has the performance from 0-60mph to beat a petrol driven Ferrari at a fraction of the cost.
The star of the show was the Mercedes S580e. It had a sublime ride quality and seamless transition from battery motor to petrol engine. Maybe I’m old fashioned but it is still nice to have a growl from an internal combustion engine. The car itself was extremely quiet. As expected, it is packed with technology including an augmented reality, heads-up display for the satellite navigation system.
After driving so many new vehicles, you may have thought my 230-mile drive home in a diesel car felt out-dated. Not so. In fact, I was marvelling at driving there and back on one tank of fuel with over 300 miles still available. My conclusion from Car of the Year 22? EVs are an alternative to petrol cars in a city at low speed because they’re more economical. When it comes to replacing diesel vehicles for high-speed, long range motorway cruising and quick refill times, they don’t come close.