Karen Smyth, Marketing Officer, GMIT
Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) has a 100% electric Mitsubishi iMiEV on trial! Students and researchers in the School of Engineering are currently using the car to record and analyse data on electric vehicles as the car is being driven by the staff of the college.
My experience with the ecar
As Marketing Officer for GMIT, I jumped at the chance to use the car for a few days last week. I commute from Athenry to GMIT every day (a return trip of about 44kms), and was interested to see how the ecar would perform.
From the moment I started driving it, I loved it. It is a luxury to have such a smooth, automatic vehicle, and the silence of the car is lovely. There is also really good acceleration, which I didn’t expect.
On my first return journey, I used the Motorway and found the ecar as comfortable as my normal car, if not more so! The second return journey was on a “back road” and it was quite noticeable that the car was operating more efficiently on this journey. I look forward to the comparison of data on the two journeys from GMIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Centre for the Integration of Sustainable Energy Technologies (CISET).
Then came the weekend. The ecar definitely attracts attention when you are out and about. Such was the interest in the ecar from my neighbours that I arranged to do a “show and tell” on Sunday morning. It was supposed to be for the neighbour’s kids, but almost as many parents came as children!
The kids were really interested in how the ecar charges, and couldn’t believe how quiet it was when driving. The parents, naturally, had questions about the cost of charging, exactly how long it would take to charge, what other car models are available, and how much the they cost to buy. What started out as a simple demonstration, turned into an hour-long e-car experience!
Luckily, my neighbour and friend Sharon Carroll, who is Galway City Council’s Environmental Officer, was able to help me answer questions about the electric vehicles and the environment, while I brought passengers on a short journey to experience travelling in an electric car.
In general, people were gobsmacked at the low running cost of the car, with it only costing €1.50-€3 for an overnight charge at home. Parents were a little apprehensive about the silence of the car from a pedestrian point of view, but I could see that it will just take a little time. Many ecars now also come with an external noise to warn pedestrians of the car’s approach.
The key question: Would I get an ecar?
So, would I trade in my 1 litre Yaris for an ecar? Definitely! I think it would be an ideal second car for our family, as I have a very predictable commute to work. The potential cost savings are what really appeal to me – the pleasure of driving such a smooth, quiet car is a very welcome added bonus.