I have been driving a Reva G-Wiz electric car around London for over four years now. My brother in law lent me his G-Wiz when I was heavily pregnant to get to ante-natal appointments, and I was hooked. The G-Wiz’s poor safety record is well documented in the press, but I have always felt safe, and our second generation G-Wiz is safe(r) than its predecessor. The G-Wiz is a tiny completely electric two door car, with two seats in the rear. It has a driving range of around 40 miles. The blurb says 48 miles, but I found 40 miles is more likely, and less in cold weather. It is only 2.6m long, and 1.3m wide, with a 3.5m turning circle. It is a bit like driving a dodgem, but that is part of the fun. You can whizz through narrow side streets, and dodge rubbish lorries, deliveries and sneak into the tiniest of parking spaces.
The second generation G-Wiz is surprisingly nippy at the traffic lights, and with average traffic speeds in London of 20 m.p.h, we all roll up at the next set of lights together. At a cost of around 1.35p per mile, with free road tax, low insurance, free parking (Westminster) and no congestion charging in London, the G-Wiz is cheap to run. And it puts a smile on your face. How many cars can you just hop across and get out the passenger side straight onto the pavement. But our family has grown, and while I have had 4 adults in the G-Wiz (!), two car seats in the rear is not comfortable. And there are more options on the market now.
Today was the turn of the Mia. It is a three seat electric city car with sliding doors, built in France, and designed by former VW design boss Murat Gunak. It is a cut above the G-Wiz. It has a central driving position, which my husband found novel, with two passenger seats in the rear with lots of leg room due to the arrow configuration. The seats are snug, but all have great visibility, and the boot is a decent size for urban shopping trips. All in all, it is a roomy interior. The longer Mia L family model has three rear passenger seats across a bench with ISOFIX fittings for a child seat.
Measuring 2.87 m in length, the Mia is 20cm longer than the G-Wiz, and that small amount makes a difference. No more sharing parking spaces, or nose to kerb parking, and the turning circle is 4.3m. The Mia has a range of 80 miles, so it is still an urban or suburban car. Though with average trip length of 7 miles (in 2010, National Traffic Survey, Department for Transport), it is probably practical for more us than we realise to drive an electric car. The modern, digital dashboard clearly displays the charge level, and number of miles remaining, which is a pleasure after the G-Wiz game of guess how far you can go.
The Mia is easy to drive, like most electric cars, turn the key, press a button, and off you go. It is more sluggish to accelerate than the G-Wiz, but soon comfortably speeds along, all be it with a bit of cabin noise. Visibility from the rear view mirror is not great with an adult passenger in the rear, and this made parking harder. It does feel safer than the G-Wiz. It is a comfortable ride. And it is cute. At around £14,000 and with no battery leasing cost, the Mia’s price has been cut from early marketing.
We had great fun in the Mia, and it compares well to the G-Wiz as a city car, but Nissan Leaf is keenly priced at the moment, could be time for a test drive to compare.