A tale of two EVs: Blade and Holden Volt

two evs

Nearly seven years ago Richard Keech got his first EV. Recently he got his second. This is his experience and reflections on electric cars generally.

EV number 1: Blade Electron

Back in 2007 I became convinced that this society of ours quickly needed to cease using fossil fuels and that electric cars were a necessary part of that change. At the time there were no commercial EVs available in Australia. In late 2007 an audacious start-up called Blade Electric Vehicles set up in Castlemaine, Victoria, and demonstrated a converted Hyundai Getz EV. I had a test drive and was immediately impressed. They called it, initially, the Blade Runner but subsequently changed the name to the Electron.

EV conversions have been around for years. But the Electron wasn’t a custom conversion. Instead it was a standard-order short-run factory conversion. By my reckoning this made it the first commercially available electric car in Australia. Mine was one of the first batch built, what would become known as the Electron Mark 1.

Hopefully, in time, the Blade Electron will achieve the recognition it deserves in Australian motoring history for courageously introducing a commercially available all-electric car alternative well before the major manufacturers. Blade is no longer a going concern but all due credit goes to Ross Blade for his early courage and vision for EV manufacturing in Australia.

I took delivery of my converted Getz in June 2008. Since then it’s given me mostly trouble-free driving for over 36,000 km in suburban Melbourne.

EV number 2: Holden Volt

In December 2014 I bought a second-hand Holden Volt which replaced my 2007 VW Jetta TDI. So now both the family’s cars can be operated around town without the need for any fuel.

GM released the Chevrolet Volt in the USA in late 2010 and in Australia as the Holden Volt in late 2012. It’s a plug-in hybrid, which qualifies as an EV (unlike a Prius) because it’s practical to operate without any petrol. There’s a lot to like about the Volt. As a total package it’s a great all-round car giving the best of both worlds—it works as a pure-electric car around town, and also gives the capacity to drive long distance on petrol when needed.

No going back

Since making the jump to EVs I’ve had a lot of fun and had a fascinating lived experience of the future of private motor vehicles. I think I’ve shown that families can slash their fuel use without seriously affecting their personal transport utility. I know that the next oil shock, when it inevitably comes, will be much less shocking for those of us with EVs. I also think that plug-in hybrids will have an important role to play in the transition to all-electric transportation.

Lastly, I think that once drivers become familiar with the way that EVs drive they won’t want to go back.

Read detailed reviews of both cars’ performance in ReNew 131.