(photo gallery)

By Kwok W. Wan

I’m perhaps not the best person to test drive a car around London, as I consider these metal boxes only as machines to take me from place A to place B, and not vehicles of pleasure.

I did once have a very enjoyable road trip from New York to Los Angles, but someone else was driving, and I just looked out the window.  I’ve never even owned my own car, so approached Mitsubishi’s new electric car with trepidation.

“Here’s the car charger,” the Mitsubishi man who handed over the i-MiEV car said, pointing to a yellow springy cord with an ordinary three-pin plug at one end and round black socket to attach to the car at the other.  He also told me not to use the heating too much, as it drained more power than any other dashboard function, and to call him if I encountered any flat battery problems.

Flat battery.  I have since found out that electric car makers have coined a phrase to describe a driver’s paranoia that the battery is about to run out of power. “Range anxiety”.  And I was about to experience range anxiety in full force.

Before the 16 kilometre (10 mile) drive from my house on the border of Kent to central London, I did a few hours research to find the shortest distance to the charging bay near Victoria train station, calculating to the mile how long it would take me to get there.  As I started driving on that grey cloudy day, I kept constant monitor of the battery gauge, doing the range calculations in my head, and tried to avoid wrong turns and detours as to conserve charge.  My range anxiety was a relaxed medium.