*looks at date* Oh gee...has it really been that long since I finished 'The Monk'? 'Dragonhaven' really is a long read.
That's not what I came on to talk about though. 2 days ago Dad and I went to Ecovelocity on its first day, which is primarily a green motor show. So the crowds weren't too large (yay!), I saw Boris Johnson in the flesh for the first time, and had my first experience of driving a motorbike. Well...it was a scooter really, since the motorbikes there were a bit too large. So I guess I had my first experience of steering a motored 2-wheel vehicle...that'll do. But the best part? We got to test drive the many lovely green vehicles on display!
The best ones there would have to be the Renault ZE Fluence (the car that Boris drove in the opening display), Vauxhall Ampera (would be-it won the What Car? green award), Nissan Leaf and any car from Mia (a brand new company specialising in urban electric cars). The Nissan Leaf was the most heavily promoted car there and out of all the cars from established international car manufacturers, it offered the most and looked most like a green car. At the show, its interesting shape and unique style caught your attention effortlessly. And let me tell you, it is so comfortable and fun to drive. Mind you, I also adored the Mia L. It looks ugly from the front (moreso if it's in the black/white colour scheme) but inside, it's spacious and practical. It's a car that was designed from the ground-up for the urban environment and for its use as an electrical car. I'm not sure families can get much mileage out of it since boot space is limited, but it was designed for those with very young children, since the floor of the car has 2 'stepping holes' on either side to make sure a parent can secure their child without obstructing the road. Also the driving seat is the only front seat, meaning that in terms of driving style or mental change (like relying on a passenger to tell you when it's safe to overtake), none of that is needed 'cos it's right in the MIDDLE! That feature alone makes it my personal winner. Also helps that at around £22k it's sold at the lowest price.
Mind you there were also 2 other things that stood out on the day: 1 was how quiet the fair was. I mean, most of the exhibits were encircled by the test track, but all the cars were so quiet it was easy to have conversations at normal volume. Once we left and walked along a Battersea Park street, we were all too aware of HOW BLOODY NOISY OUR ROADS ARE! The 2nd was watching how Dad acted. I mean, for me, it was just a day out where I could learn about new technology and try out some new cars. He was appraising the cars as possible purchases. I honestly don't remember him ever appraising anything with such scrutiny as he did there.
I suppose what was most interesting at Ecovelocity was the debut/UK debut of many cars that have been the result of various experimentations behind very secured doors at each of the manufacturers. The various techniques and methods used by each of the companies to make their vehicles green were astoundingly different, and this was the first time the company reps could have a look at their rivals' results. It'll be interesting to see which techniques are copied in the future.