NICE Megacity electric car

We all like the idea of reducing your carbon footprint, but can the electric car really help us do that, or is it more hassle than it's worth? We check out the NICE (stands for No Internal Combustion Engine, by the way) MegaCity.

First thing you'll notice about the Megacity is that it looks surprisingly like any other small city car. No kooky styling like the G-Whiz and apart from the noise, or lack of it, most people are unlikely to spot at first that you've got a considerably different engine under the bonnet.

That conventional styling carries on through the car even though it's made from ABS, yes that's the same plastic as Lego. While this means the car is exceptionally light, it also means it is a bit flexible and the centre console on the dashboard has a tendency to bend and move if you push it with your knee.

The rest of the inside is fairly bare, however the thing that stands out the most is the gigantic boot certainly big enough for the weekly shop. The automatic gearbox is also likely to appeal to city dwellers stuck in traffic.

With a top speed of around 40mph in the Hi setting, there is a Low setting for conserving energy, you aren't likely to be racing anywhere fast, but then the car only has an estimated 40 mile range, although NICE do tell us this can go up to 60 miles if you drive economically (i.e., without your foot on the accelerator the entire time).

Performance wise the NICE was decidedly nippy considering. We aren't saying that it will out-perform anything on the road, in fact we managed to sort of break our model whereby it refused to go any faster than 10 miles a hour to protect itself - think opening Windows in Safe Mode - at which point we were overtaken by a guy on a mountain bike, but considering its credentials it is perfect for getting around town.

With such a short range you've got to charge the car on a regular basis. Yes it does come with a 3 pin plug that you can plug into any socket you find, and the City of Westminster in London has even created a number of parking bays where, once signed up to, you not only get free parking, but also a free charge for the car.

The NICE MegaCity takes 5 hours in total to be fully charged, and although you are only allowed to park at these bays for a maximum of 3 hours it means you will be able to get home.

Verdict

There is lots going for the MegaCity - no petrol costs, no tax, no congestion charge costs in London, no CO2 emmissons (aside from the powerstation...) and the knowledge that you are being green, but still using a car.

Driving around London it was a very uplifting experience with a sense of being a part of the future somehow (wishy-washy I know).

However the hassle of charging could cause you a problem if you aren't lucky enough to park outside your house on a driveway. If, and chances are you do, you do live in a flat or you have to park miles away from your house then you're stuffed.

Then there is the price. At £9995 this is a high price to go green.

Good, but not without its quirks.


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