Friday, April 13, 2018

Changing Cars: Going Hybrid

It has to be said that driving a brand new car is an expensive indulgence, but I have to own up to rather liking it! It just so happens that every car I've owned, I've had from new. It's a guilty pleasure.

Anyway, the time has come to change my current car, a Mazda 5, for something new and shiny. Although I like driving new cars I find the process of buying one tedious and stressful. But this time I had a different plan in mind because I wanted to go a little greener and began looking at hybrids. The kind of car I like to drive hasn't been readily available as a hybrid, but with the arrival of the Prius+ a number of years ago, an alternative to the typical MPV became available.
It's not everyone's first choice but it's what we have chosen as our next new car.

Hopefully we'll adapt to the automatic gearbox quickly. It's a bit unnerving to start with when you don't quite know where to put your left foot or what to do with it! But once you get out one the road it's a nice, rather relaxed smooth drive. I actually collected the car just before Easter and immediately drove it to Bedford, Eastbourne and Saffron Walden over the weekend! I think I can safely say I've got used to it now!

The ever increasing complexity of the technology that goes into a modern car continues to dazzle. Even more so with the transition to a hybrid and all the data that is available about when you're running in EV mode, how the power is being generated and distributed, and all sorts of other things. I remember when most new cars came without a radio let alone a satellite navigation system and proximity sensors.

If you're a so-called petrol head then you'll probably find the Prius+ a boring, uninspiring drive. That's fine. I didn't buy it as a performance car, I bought it because it suits our needs, it's a hybrid, and it's comfortable. My first refuel suggested I got around 50mpg, and apparently that's likely to improve over time.

So there we have it. The money is spent, the car is bought and the next 4 or 5 years of driving are sorted out. The Prius is the first step in moving away from simple combustion engines towards something greener. The next change will be Anne's Kia, but quite when and what to, I'm not sure. Perhaps another Toyota in the form of a Yaris hybrid.

In 4 or 5 years time I will probably look at at a PHEV version of something. Technology will have moved on and there may be a much wider choice of such vehicles than there are currently. Maybe we will even go fully electric. I can imagine a day when you pull into a service station and simply swap out the batteries rather than recharge before going on your way. I'm guessing too that battery technology will change and maybe we'll have 1000 mile ranges available by the time ICE's go out of production completely.

In my ideal world we will have a house that has all electricity from renewable energy so that charging our electric vehicles is carbon neutral. Is that so far fetched?

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