EXCLUSIVE: What Killed The Electric Car? For G-Wiz, Other Electric Cars

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Early Electric G-Wiz

Early Electric G-Wiz

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It’s been a mainstay of British eco-chic for nearly a decade, but the little Indian four-wheel ‘car’ which can be found buzzing around the streets of London will no longer be sold in the U.K. 

In an email earlier on today addressed to all G-Wiz owners Rudi Schogger, MD of GoingGreen, the U.K. importer of the Indian-built Reva electric car confirmed that the firm will not be ordering any more vehicles and intends to cease selling the Reva G-Wiz in the very near future. GoingGreen aren't pulling out of the U.K., but they will certainly stop selling the G-Wiz.

“Dear G-Wiz lover,

I am writing to announce the sale of the last new G-Wiz out of GoinGreen until Autumn 2011, as we have come to the end of the current stock."

Sources close to the company say that the firm has struggled to sell its third generation G-Wiz i in recent months and now has just two cars left in stock: one single new and one ex-demo vehicle. 

The base model, with seating for two adults and two children, has a top speed of just 50 mph and a range of under 50 miles thanks to heavy lead acid batteries.  Its retail price? $17,600. 

For larger range, customers could stump up a massive $25,000 for a G-Wiz equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack. The additional $7,400 brought owners an additional 25 miles of range. Sadly handling is just the same as the base version: twitchy and toy-like. 

G-Wiz charging in the U.K.

G-Wiz charging in the U.K.

So it’s hardly surprising that the firm is pulling out of the U.K. After all, Mitsubishi’s larger and more capable 2011 i is now available to lease in the U.K., rebranded as the Mitsubishi i-Miev, the Citroen C-Zero and the Peugeot iOn.

In a few weeks’ time the 2011 Nissan Leaf will also go on sale, providing U.K. buyers with a five-seat, fully crash-tested, highway capable family car for $40,000. Admittedly that’s a whole lot more than a G-Wiz, but then the G-Wiz can’t travel on freeways and lacks most of the safety features car owners expect thanks to a loophole in european law which classifies vehicles under a certain size and power as quadricycles rather than cars. 

While there’s a dedicated army of G-Wiz fans out there, the Reva G-Wiz has received continued criticism as unsafe, slow and impractical. Spearheaded by the BBC’s Top Gear Program which has , there have been numerous attempts to ban the sale of the vehicle after it became apparent that in more than a sedate collision its passengers would be severely hurt. 


That fear came true last year, when a female G-Wiz owner was killed when her car split in two in a collision with another vehicle

The G-Wiz, simply called the Reva in India, will continue production there and be sold to domestic Indian customers until the end of this year.  Reva promises its successor, the highway-capable Reva NXR, will be available to buy in India from late 2011. 

But since the NXR is just another electric car whose launch date has been pushed back several times we’re not convinced it will appear in the U.S. for some time to come. 

In the meantime, low speed and limited production electric vehicle manufacturers should take note: The big boys have come to play and they don’t want to share the toys.

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