On Friday evening we went to the Pickaquoy ( pronounced ‘Picky’) Centre in Kirkwall. This is a large Sports complex with cinema, the swimming pool has an adjustable floor so that it can be used for a variety of sports including the very popular ‘Octopush’ – a form of underwater hockey. Anyway the reason for our visit of such a place of physical excellence was not some desire to achieve some Greek Adonis-like figure but to see a presentation entitled ‘Electric Cars are rubbish’ This talk was by Robert Llewellyn of Red Dwarf ( Kryten ) and Scrapheap Challenge ( the presenter ) fame and a keen electric car owner. He has spent some time researching electric cars and exploring the many types out there and has a YouTube show called ‘Fully Charged’ . He owns a Nissan Leaf but for his first journey to Orkney he was loaned the rather magnificent BMW i8 a true supercar which was on show here for us to drool over the £120 K car ( see photo ).
The talk was very interesting and entertaining with brief excursions into Jeremy Clarkson ( a good friend of Robert’s ) impersonations and the odd Kryten walk to avoid tripping over part of the stage. You may not know but Orkney has an energy problem, it currently produces 105% of its needs from green technologies, but because of the lack of capacity of the grid connection to the rest of the UK it cannot produce anymore unless it can find was of using this electricity itself and so electric cars are just one of the many solutions proposed. The current limited range (100 miles ) of an all-electric car like the Nissan Leaf suits living on a small island perfectly, particularly when fast charging times can be as little as 20 mins currently. Robert made the valid point that he is of an age that his bladder only has a range no more than 150 miles anyway so an extended driving range would be of little use to him!
There were a lot of interesting facts about the history of electric car development, apparently in the early 1900’s there were more electric cars about than petrol and New York taxis were all electric and here . Certainly it is an area that is going places and with the energy costs of an electric car being in the order of 2p/mile against a petrol/diesel car at 19p/mile there is a compelling reason to look at these vehicles to see if they suit your needs.
At the show there were several other stands promoting various forms of renewable energy products and we spent quite some time chatting to the various people on them. I shan’t be changing my car just yet but there was a rather nice 4×4 plug-in hybrid from Mitsubishi that was tempting. : )