I wrote this is 2012, much of it still applies…

I hate to namedrop, but just the other day I was chatting to sensational ‘70s poptastic, ex King of the Jungle DJ Tony Blackburn about electric cars. He’s got a Prius and not unreasonably rather likes the electric element of it. In reality it is the Congestion Charge free element which probably attracts Tony and many like him who work in the Metropolis. Politicians think lecky cars are magical, but then they are on the whole simpletons. All Tony wondered was, is electric the future?

Obviously not, especially if the recent lack of sales figures are anything to go by. I’ve never actually seen a Leaf out of captivity, but I am sure London is crawling with them. The future ought to be hydrogen, but until then the nation continues to panic buy fuel, but have no clue what to plump it into.

They can’t rely on official figures, no one can. All you can go buy is real world car owners who keep decent records. Such as an ex Lotus engineer who knew a thing or too about added lightness, who bought a Citroen AX with the uninjected 1.0 litre engine and claimed that he could get 60mpg out of it and topped up once a month. The equally flimsy Renault 5 with 1.1 power could easily beat 50mpg, especially when oxidisation had taken in its toll. So tiny old cars and engines exceed mpg expectations, but how about my neighbour whose 190,000 mile Toyota Carina on an R plate returns high 40s mpg as he charges around the country. It’s not a diesel either, a 1.6 petrol, so two major expenditures knocked on the head depreciation and fuel.

What about moderns? Well the feedback I have is that Passat Pump diesels are the ones that will cart a family around and consistently return over 50mpg during real world driving. Any Peugeot is more than tolerable with diesel power and wonder why you wouldn’t consider an almost 50mpg from a 407 coupe except on the grounds of ugliness. If you can recommend any real world mpg heroes then do let me know.

Meanwhile as Renault have recently cleared the decks of averagely selling Lagunas it will be interesting to see whether their Value Brand Lecky cars make more of an impact than the Leaf. At the end of our radio chat Tony did a brilliant joke about whether the Battery Vehicle Society ‘charged’ members. How we laughed.