17th May, 2007
Once you get over the fact that not even tinted windows, a subwoofer, and Snoop Dogg riding shotgun would make the Maranello IV electric car ‘cool’, you can begin to think about driving and car ownership in a whole new way.
I settle into the driver’s seat and buckle up under the watchful eye of James Tucker, director of fledging company Future Vehicles, a man who started out in life by hiring super-powerful sports cars to the not-so-rich-and-famous. ‘We were in demand,’ he reminisces. ‘Then one guy drove one off the side of a mountain in the Alps.’ My eyes flick nervously to the dense Kensington traffic. ‘We decided we didn’t want to put people’s lives at risk any more, and at the same time we wanted to see what we could bring of value to personal transportation,’ he explains.
So it is that I am sitting in one of Tucker’s electric vehicles, staring slightly unfamiliarly at just two pedals, no gear-stick and a battery indicator gauge tucked into the passenger’s footwell. Turning the key in the ignition makes no noise, other than a brief flutter in the instrument panel.
‘Is that it?’ I ask.
‘Yep,’ Tucker reassures me. He flicks up a small black switch in the middle of the dash.
‘That’s forward…’ he flicks the switch down, ‘and that’s reverse.’
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