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Drive Life : February 11th 2011
1HERSA1 F003 *Offer available at participating dealers on new stock vehicles purchased and delivered by 28 February 2011 or while stocks last. Free on-road costs include registration, stamp duty, CTP, and dealer delivery. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offers. SapientNitro VOL 514 SMH S Scuderia Veloce Volvo Cars 586 Pacific Highway Chatswood NSW 2067 Ph: 9411 6677 DL15207 Annlyn Motors 93-99 York Road Penrith NSW 2750 Ph: 4722 9900 DL16178 Trivett Volvo Alexandria 75-85 O'Riordan Street Alexandria NSW 2015 Ph: 8338 2633 DL90221 Peter Warren Volvo Cars 13 Hume Highway Warwick Farm NSW 2170 Ph: 9828 8123 DL5411 Purnell Volvo 990 King Georges Road Blakehurst NSW 2221 Ph: 8558 7000 DL520 Trivett Volvo Parramatta 70 Church Street Parramatta NSW 2150 Ph: 9841 4142 MD14839 Offer extended while stocks last free on-road costs across the range* STAMP DUTY • REGISTRATION • CTP • DEALER DELIVERY The Sydney Morning Herald Friday, February 11, 2011 3 Ethanol is a joke. --- FORMER US PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE JOHN MCCAIN MAKES HIS FEELINGS CLEAR ON BIOFUEL. TOP WORST ROADS IN NSW 5 ' IN DRIVE TOMORROW NET POLL Yes 73% No 27% NEXT WEEK'S QUESTION: Which Ford Territory would you be more likely to buy? Go to drive.com.au/vote Should Ford resurrect the GTHO? Don't miss our guide to the best P-plate picks. ' 1 Pacific Highway between Coffs Harbour and Macksville 2 Princes Highway between Berry and Batemans Bay 3 M5 Motorway at the King Georges Road intersection 4 Pennant Hills Road between the M2 and F3 5 M4 Motorway where the toll gates used to be at Auburn Source: NRMA Drive Life editor Richard Blackburn email@example.com National Drive editor Toby Hagon Sales manager Ian Bellert 9282 3709 Cover iStock Drive writers abide by a code of ethics. Read it at drive.com.au/ethics DriveLIFE Electric storm on the way BEN COLLINS Quick and easy . . . recharging the Nissan Leaf takes as little as 20 minutes. Revolution moves fast in the modern, connected world. The scenes in Egypt show the potency of an idea once it gathers momentum. Queensland's community spirit in the face of Old Testament floods and winds suggests we humans can summon that bit extra when the chips are down. A little more than 100 years ago, a Belgian climbed aboard a bullet-shaped car he named after his wife, ''Jamais Contente'' (never satisfied), and smashed the land- speed record by breaking 100km/h. The big deal was his car was powered by electricity and trounced the carbon-fuel brigade. But then Henry Ford got involved and his mass- produced Model T wrote the history books in favour of petrol. A few pioneers kept a candle lit for electric power. The World Solar Challenge, held exclusively in Australia, was so successful the rules were changed to slow down the cars. But they remain oddities. Savvy consumers are unlikely to rush out and buy what ostensibly resembles E.T.'s Humvee. Even though we know the beer hat is perfect in both design and function, we tend not to wear them at dinner parties. Today, electric vehicles represent a new dawn in motoring, running on clean energy that can be sourced as locally as organic sausages. You plug them into the wall like a toaster and fuel the little devil for a whopping . . . $5. Cost saving may prove to be the tipping point in favour of electric, rather than the minor inconveniences of sticking with petrol. I drove the Tesla EV when it came out a few years ago. It handled like a Lotus but with a thumping boot to the spine from the mega torque of its silent motor. The dashboard lied about how much I was depleting the battery as I drove around the track like an ape kicking a banana tree. In the end, however, there was no disguising the fact I had stopped moving. ''Range anxiety'' is the buzzword for the fear of running dry in an electric car and being eaten by insects out in the bush. Surrounded as we are by the obesity of food, entertainment and instant messaging, it's easy to apply that mindset to the range we expect of our cars. I mean, 10,000 songs on the iPod just isn't enough. The updated Tesla is a fully developed super sportscar that tells no lies. Its lithium- ion battery is lighter and housed lower in the chassis. I threw it into a few corners at Brands Hatch and the weight distribution allowed the rear of the car to pitch in unison with the steering. The torque of the motor then dumped through the rear tyres, stubbornly sticking them to the tarmac. The kind of range you can expect from the current generation of mainstream EVs is at least 160 kilometres. That's more than enough for 90 per cent of our journeys. As for recharging, you can restore 80 per cent of the battery on the new Nissan Leaf from a ''Quick Charge'' station in about 20 minutes. The Leaf is a little gem. It seats four people and you don't feel the road so much as glide over it. The steering is a tad light but the balance is superb, achieved by fitting the weighty battery cells in the floor of the chassis where they plant the tyres to the ground. The brakes feel perfectly normal in spite of the complex systems working to regenerate ''lost'' energy every time you touch them. A tiny solar panel charges onboard electronics, making you feel as wholesome as an episode of The Waltons. Once supermarkets start installing charge points in their car parks for folks to fill up in the time it takes to buy a sirloin, the pace of uptake in electric will happen fast. Petrolheads like me won't become dinosaurs overnight. Hybrid vehicles that combine electric and combustion motors will act like Nicorette during the transition period. Driving electric may be more challenging in the short-term while the support infrastructure develops but the rewards in the pocket and the air we breathe should compensate. The electric revolution is under way. Even formula one is embracing electric power to assist drivers in overtaking each other. A few more ripples in the oil price sparked by world events should urge energy companies to get with the program. Ben Collins was famously anonymous for eight years as The Stig on the hit series TopGear.Heisnowapresenteronrival show Fifth Gear.
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