I had just enjoyed a dinner at Monash University in the middle suburbs of Melbourne and expected to take a late night bus, then train, back into the city. I was very pleased when one of the guests offered to drive me home.
‘Actually, you can drive yourself home,’ David said. ‘You see, I have an electric car, which is part of the government’s pilot programme. As part of the deal, I’ve promised to get as many people as I can to have a go driving it.’
What luck! This would be my first time in an electric car.
An electric car has its own quirks. I drove the Mitsubishi i-Miev, which doesn’t have a key. Instead, you use a button to start the engine. The gears are similar to an automatic car, with the addition of a ‘brake regeneration’ gear. I used it in the Burnley Tunnel to slow down. Instead of braking with the pedal, I put in the brake gear and the car slows itself down quickly and captures the energy for the electric battery.
On the CityLink tollway, I felt a large freight truck pushing up towards me at 100 kilometres per hour.
‘You’re in the left lane.’ David said. ‘Why is it so close?’
‘He probably wants a closer look at the electric car,’ I said.