Me & My Car: Up and go at 83
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What are you driving?
A 2014 VW E Up. It’s silver. I work a couple of days a month for a car dealer, putting his cars on the computer and doing GST for him, and he was able to import a petrol Volkswagen Up from Japan, as VW NZ doesn’t import them. I had the petrol for three years, then decided to get an electric. I had to buy that through a guy in England.
What do you like about it?
I was blown away by how good it was. I have been used to powerful motorcars; I have owned 14 Porsches and I started the Porsche club in New Zealand. But I decided if I got a speeding ticket at my age of 83, at 180km/h to 190km/h, which is easy to do when you when you press the right-hand pedal down in a passing lane,
I knew the police would just throw my licence away and I would be walking. So, I thought I would buy this little Up, but it is a surprisingly quick little car. It just plugs in, as there is no fuel being used in it. And as far as servicing is concerned, every two years they see how your brakes and your suspension are, and that sort of thing. Because there is nothing to be done.
Did we get your age right? 83?
Yes, I am high-mileage.
Is this your first electric car?
Yes, and it is the first Volkswagen electric Up to come into New Zealand because when we went to register it, in Wellington they didn’t have this model. There are plenty of little Leafs around and I have driven a Zoe but they don’t hold a candle to the Up.
Where do you charge it?
There is a plug beside my carport. I charge it up for four to five hours, I like to run it down to about quarter charge. I do that about once a week. I haven’t got a real handle on the costs yet but I don’t think it is any more than perhaps about $5 a week. I do about 100km a week, I potter around, from Milford to the city or into Takapuna. I don’t usually go very far, because we have another car if we want to go to Hamilton to see one of our sons.
Into the city and back. You have a range of about 140km. I drive it home on the motorway, it is easy to stay at 100km/h, because it has all this immediate acceleration.
How does it suit your personality?
Well it gets up and goes. That is how I am, I am reasonably gregarious, I have been a people person all my life, I drink with all the Porsche boys on Thursday nights. And tell a lot of lies at the cruising club here in Milford.
Is it easy to park?
An absolute joy. Cold morning this morning. I start it up, put the key in and turn on and go and by the time I got 100m I had the heat coming out the heater. And you can’t do that with a petrol car.
Who else drives your car?
My cars are not museum pieces to be put under a glass case.
I would say at least 30 people have driven my little car. Everybody who drives it has a smile on their face. One thing is you have to get used to is that you just don’t hear them. There is no noise at all — you have to be ready to go beep beep if you are coming up on people. They make life very easy, seamless gears.
What do you keep in your car?
I have the shopping bags to go to the supermarket, a jacket and an umbrella. And I have two cables, one for charging at home and one for out on the road.
Is this your dream EV?
I would love a Tesla but, at $130,000, it’s a bit out of my price range. Mind you, this wasn’t cheap, I landed it for just under $30,000. You could have bought one of the Japanese ones for $20,000 but I didn’t like the shape of them.
Will we all be driving EVs one day?
There is no doubt this is the coming thing. All they have to do is extend the range, 140km is not enough, and that will happen. Tesla are 400km, so the technology is changing.