The G-Wiz goes Lithium Powered (£7,800 more for 27 more miles…)

London based retailer of the REVA, the cute electric car from India otherwise known as the G-Wiz, has started to take orders for the new, improved Lithium Ion powered G-Wiz. Hopefully it’ll let more EV users (and new EV owners) fell like this as the GWiz gets a much-needed boost in range and performance.
Photograph by John Honniball
Goingreen, who have been at the forefront of the revival of the EV in the UK, have announced that a new version of the GWiz is now available to order. When Goingreen and REVA relaunched the G-Wiz in 2007 with a redesigned body, windscreen, longer range and better performance they hinted that a lithium ion upgrade would be in the works. Up to this date, the green vehicle of choice for the hip and trendy of Nottinghill has relied on what is, essentially a very old battery technology: Lead Acid. A technology which I have long felt didn’t help the vehicle’s image or performance.
Don’t get me wrong; every EV has a part to play in changing our world’s dependence on oil-based transport, regardless of it’s age, size or style. I’ve also never had the chance to drive the GWiz-i, which I’m told is far superior in comfort and drivablity to the original GWiz. The only two GWizes I’ve driven were a prototype REVA, imported into the UK in early 2003/4, and an AC powered original GWiz with an almost depleted battery. (Yes, the last one was after we’d driven to London to drive a GWiz for a test drive with a view to buying one. Sadly the experience changed our mind..) The G-Wiz has thousands of loyal drivers and fans. I’m a fan of what the GWiz does – it’s an electric car – I just don’t like the experience inside. As someone who owned a car most G-Wiz owners would view as an oversized Sinclair C5, I’m probably on an equal par with a Gwiz owner who thinks the same of the City El.
I’d hoped that the Lithium Ion GWiz would be a revelation which would make me change my mind. The Lead acid version sports a top speed of 51 mph (perfect for London and most cities) and a maximum range of 48 miles. I’ve seen a GWiz i do more when carefully driven. I therefore though (after my own experiences with switching lead for lithium) that the new GWiz i Lithium would get at least 100 miles on a charge. That would put it on a par with the expected range of the Th!nk, the Smart ED and the Mitsubishi iMiev.
So imagine my despair today when checking out the goingreen website at http://www.goingreen.co.uk. Apparently you can have a GWiz Lithium Ion from just £15,795. The Lead acid version starts at £7,995. So what do you get for this extra money? Another 50 miles range? A higher top speed? No. You get another 27 miles range. That’s right. £7,800 more for another 27 miles of traveling. That’s disappointing. Admittedly, you’ll benefit from improved handling, a lighter weight (I assume) and a longer battery warranty from 1 year on the lead acid models to 3 years.
So maybe it’s not that bad.
At 48Volts (which I assume the G Wiz still is) the price of the lithium batteries are quite heavily priced. I suspect this is to cover the many hundreds of thousands of pounds spent developing it. But it’s still going to cost you dearly if you’re an early adopter. I suspect the price will drop dramatically over the next few months…
When the competition comes along, which we should get very shortly, this Lithium Ion model will have to be pretty special to get people to choose it rather than a more expensive Mitsubishi iMiev or Smart ED. My thinking is based on the reputation, service and quality that the latter two cars should provide above and beyond that that a small car company such as goingreen could provide.
I know this is a controversial post. I’m a little bitter if I’m honest that my previous GWiz experiences weren’t good ones. But, let’s be honest, the Gwiz of old didn’t help itself that much. Let’s hope this all changes with the Lithium GWiz.
And Goingreen, if you’re reading this, I’d love to come up and be proven wrong. I have some seasoning that will go well with my hat. Give me a ring. Prove me wrong…

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