Crash, bang, wallop: try not to crash your electric car

10 May 2007

Aixam car in crash testsSurely nobody can be too surprised by news that GoinGreen’s G-Wiz is not the ideal vehicle in which to be hit by a lumbering 4x4. The little electric runabout, which qualifies as a “quadricycle” in law (but which we prefer to think of as a wheeled plastic pig), was hurled at a deformable barrier on April 10th by the UK’s Department for Transport. We haven't seen pictures of the tests, which were done to the standards required of conventional cars, but they no doubt resemble a soft-boiled egg being struck with a cricket bat.

In an article at The Times, GoinGreen bleats that safety would make the G-Wiz too heavy to qualify for the quadricycle category, opening it up to the full rules governing proper motor cars, which would in turn push up prices and balloon running costs. This seems like an iffy defence, bearing in mind that the weight assessment is done before the heavy batteries are inserted, and also that rival electric quadricycle the Mega City, sold by the Nice Car Company but made by Aixam in France, has - allegedly - passed the very same tests.

We've asked Nice for comment on the safety-equals-weight-plus-cost issue and will pass any feedback on in due course.


Glenda_Fralin said...

I've been out scouting other blogs. Your article is very informative. It's good to have those who have safety first in mind.

Keith Johnston said...

The Reva G-Wiz is designed, marketed and used as a low speed urban commuter vehicle for congested urban roads. The actual average speed of a G-Wiz is 10 mph (based on data downloaded from G-Wiz in London) and its actual safety record is exemplary, with over 20,000,000 miles driven by customers worldwide and no reported serious injuries.
If not tested according to their classification (as in this case), then surely vehicles should be tested relative to their usage. Cars are not off-set frontal crash tested at 70 mph, or worse still at the limit of their capability, if they were it is questionable whether any would 'pass'. If we are to test vehicles other than cars at 40 mph, then should we not also crash test scooters and motorcycles? Crash tests are useful in assisting consumers to make informed purchased decisions, and over time to improve safety standards, but they can be misleading and some heavier vehicles - such as 4 x 4s - can cause more, and more serious injuries to other road users, with pedestrians in particular at significantly increased danger. What is needed here is balanced and informed debate based on all the facts and a collaborative approach to responsible motoring. GoinGreen and the manufacturer of the G-Wiz, the Reva Electric Car Company welcomes serious, mature debate which focuses on environmentally and socially responsible driving and will address the issues raised by the crash tests once the full reports have been made available. Every year there are around 30,000 deaths and serious injuries on UK roads and since the G-Wiz was launched four years ago, none have involved reports of a G-Wiz.
Keith Johnston
Managing Director

A N Fernandes said...

If you ask me, this whole thing smacks of a plot.

G-Whiz doing great: finally it looks like folks are seeing the wisdom of going electric, and if this trend continues, more of the best minds/businesses in the world can turn their attention to making this a sustainable, sellable business model.

Who loses? I think that answer's pretty clear.

Which other car has crash-test pictures published on blogs/anywhere public, despite the fact that some of those pics are going to be just as bad as the ones shown here? It's so obviously targeted at scaring people away from the G-Whiz.

Basically if you're not getting from 0 - 60 in 0.6 seconds, burning copious amounts of fossil fuel, you're not coool. You're not being the happy consumerist. You're not part of the 'natural' order of things. You're not welcome.

While safety concerns are obviously important in automobile purchase, I think this could be an overblown, narrow-minded look at the possible failings of the G-Whiz.

Auto IT said...

To answer A N Fernandez, Auto IT has put a picture of a crashing Aixam on the blog.

In the print edition of Top Gear magazine, which carried out its own G-Wiz test, it carries the following paragraph:

"We watch the [slow motion] recordings from five camera angles. Each time we stare as the car goes into the barrier and inexorably folds up around its driver. Each time we sit and gaze blankly at the monitor after the clip is over. Eventually one of the technicians mutters: 'I see these tests every day but I've never felt sick before.'"

Auto IT blogged about this topic because there seemed to be little awareness of the Aixam Mega City, which competes with the G-Wiz but which has passed Euro crash tests for cars.

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