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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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Comments (7)
  1. It is worth pointing out that although the car will not be on sale, the company is not pulling out of the UK. Used cars will continue to be sold and supported by GoinGreen.
    It is also worth saying that the original G-Wiz, as tested by GoinGreen, was replaced at the end of 2007 with a new generation car which had a redesigned chassis and new front crash structure which was developed in conjunction with Lotus.
     
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  2. I've never liked the G-Wiz, it really doesn't help the image of EVs. How are you supposed to get people interested in EVs when they see a thing like the G-Wiz? Although, I guess it would make a fantastic eco friendly clown car.
     
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  3. It's a little sad, but not wholly unexpected. Reva was first to market, but they failed to innovate and improve their vehicle, leaving it to others to fill the void. That's business.
     
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  4. I think that it is fair to say that it isn't the best looking vehicle but each to their own I say. For the money you pay to purchase one, what more do you expect? A range? I don't think so. It serves it's purpose and saves London goers plenty of money which cant be a bad thing can it?
     
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  5. The G-Wiz isn't a 'car', it is a quadricycle, an EU whole vehicle type approved low powered and lightweight vehicle, subject to and limited by different regulations, sold in more than 20 countries, with more than 200 million km of customer driving (yes with a single regrettable fatality), and one of the world's best selling EVs. It was ahead of its time and much like the first mobile phone or computer it was a breakthrough in affordable technology, pioneered the electric vehicle segment, encouraged investment and raised awareness. It is what it is (low cost low speed clean urban mobility) and it is a shame that the UK government chose to exempt it from subsidy support, a reason why sales are in decline. Another innovative British company left high and dry by the UK government resulting in job losses instead of employment growth.
     
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  6. What is the point in re broadcasting the alarmist crash test video when this low speed urban vehicle has enjoyed more than 120 million kms of driving in 24 countries with only one unfortunate fatality . The future of electric transport will include various other quadricycles . Is the Renault Twizzy not a quad? Anyway REVA Mahindra is certainly not stopping their efforts , the management of Goingreen might have experienced difficulties with their strategy but that is a separate issue altogether. 100% agree with Keith , OEM s have all the support they need but why would you incentivise an EV to the tune of GBP 5000 that only the wealthy can afford anyway? The REVA /G WIZ remains the most affordable EV on western roads today , I challenge any other company to match the caliber of customers/ambassadors the REVA G Wiz has enjoyed to date. Long live the pioneers , petrol heads don t need any further help getting their opinions heard. Olivier
     
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  7. After seeing the crash test between a G-Wiz and a table, I now know why Tesla filed a lawsuit against Top Gear for not being honest about it's car.
     
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