The car that Jeremy Clarkson hates

What have Jonathan Ross, Jerry Hall, Kristin Scott Thomas and the editor of the Guardian got in common? They all drive a certain nippy little eco-motor called the G-Wiz.

“It’s a car that says ‘I care’,” says Keith Johnston, MDof GoinGreen, the sole UK distributor of the car.

Schmaltz aside, the G-Wiz is electric, which means emission-free. Great for the environment, but also extremely easy on the wallet. You are exempt from the congestion charge, Londoners, and certain boroughs, like Westminster, even provide free parking.

The car, itself, is a snip at £8,000, and compared to a family saloon car, running costs go down 90 per cent. There are insurance savings, too. The G-Wiz is technically classified as a quadricyle, so rates drop significantly.

If it all sounds too good to be true, here’s the rub. These wheels may come cheap, but with a top speed of 40mph and limited miles to the charge, the G-Wiz is resolutely a city car for short trips in congested areas.

“We’re bringing out a 2008 model that can reach 50mph,” says Keith Johnston. “And we’re having 200 charging points installed around London over the next six months.”

Great for those caught short while out and about. Not that fans of the G-Wiz have been deterred. The company started trading in 2004 and there are currently 1000 G-Wizs on the streets of London. The £3m-turnover company outsells all other electric cars 2 to 1.

But there is one man who will never be converted. Jeremy Clarkson slated the little car on Top Gear last year. The petrolhead put the G-Wiz through a series of NCAP safety tests in May 2007, showing the crash dummies being crushed and horribly maimed. “It was very unhelpful,” says Johnston. “The G-Wiz is not subject to crash tests. It’s a lightweight vehicle.”

Nevertheless, the new 2008 model has seen several safety improvements, whichwill please viewers of the programme.

“Jeremy Clarkson is at the opposite end of the spectrum to GoinGreen,” says Johnston. “He’s all about fast cars and high carbon emissions. I’m not surprised we don’t fit with his world view.”

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