During my research into the new traffic measures, and in particular the speed limit on Paros (see article in last monthâ€™s edition of Paros Life), I came across the REVA Phaedra Electric Car and a new way of driving keeping to the speed limits all over the island and without the need for any gasoline.
â€śREVAâ€ť is an Indian word originating from the Sanskrit language and means â€śnew beginningâ€ť. The car is assembled in Bangalore, India; AEV in California gave the technology, Bolton in England developed the batteries and the company ElectriCity Mobility Ltd (http://www.electricitymobility.com) distributes and promotes the REVA in Cyprus and Greece (and on Paros).
On Thursday, 12th July 2007, my first â€śelectric test-driveâ€ť began at 10am on the Paroikia-Naoussa road, where Ioannis Bourelis of Sidikas Paros introduced me to the specials of the REVA Phaedra. The automatic transmission system is easy to handle by means of a knob on the instrument panel which moves into reverse, neutral, economy or full-drive. Just turn the key (after opening the two doors using the central locking system) and donâ€™t wait for any engine noise! The REVA electric car will move forward soundlessly as soon as you choose economy or full-drive and put your right foot on the gas pedal (you will also use the right foot for the brakes, so just give the left foot a time-out for the day!). Through Naoussa, Isterni, Prodromos, Marpissa, Logaras, Golden Beach, Drios, following the main road to Aspro Chorio, Tripiti, Angeria, Petaloudes and Parasporos, a 50km circle was completed and the battery needed recharging. I took a break of 4 hours at my house and the car was ready to start again in the afternoon driving towards Paroikia, Naoussa, Kamares and returning to Aghia Irini with a short stop-over at the Dimarcheio (town hall) for a quick chat with Mayor Yiannis Rangoussis. Good timing: in front of the town hall the new recycling van was parked too, demonstrating the implementation of the contract between the municipality and the Hellenic Recycling Company who are providing all materials, information and transportation of recycled items to the mainland.
Mayor Rangoussis told me that the municipality already provides free charging and parking of all electric cars at the municipal car parks in Paroikia and Naoussa (further information is available by calling telephone number 1562).
Although the municipality cannot subsidize the purchase of the electric car (the Greek government really should do so), but the road tax for the whole year (â€śteli kykloforiasâ€ť) is set at a mere 3 euro, the insurance is in the cheapest category and the ferry ticket for this car to Athens costs just 20 euro (the same as a motorbike). With a purchase price of 11,500 euro, these benefits, plus absolutely no gasoline costs whatsoever, quickly mount up to meaning major savings on your vehicle costs.
You might ask: But where can I charge my car? Well, it is easier to find a plug than every year paying more and more for gasoline and being dependent on the economics and politics of the major oil producing countries. I can imagine in the near future a lot of cafeterias and restaurants in Paros with parking facilities providing a free charge while the customers enjoy their coffee or meal and the electric car is fed by electricity (or later with solar energy).
REVA Phaedra is coming with two new models to Paros in a few weeks and in October the technique for charging using solar power from roof panels will be finalized and there will then be the triple choice of charging the car with normal electricity, solar energy or natural gas.
ElectriCity Mobility has future plans to implement the electric car in Greece in order to save transport costs and make the purchase of this car more attractive to everyone, I was told by Yiannis Dimos from ElectriCity during his visits to Paros cooperating with Sidikas.
My opinion is that driving schools and rent-a-car offices in Paros should be highly motivated to show interest in this new technology of environment- and energy-friendly vehicles.
On balance the result of my research was very positive. The car is a cute, easy-to-handle city car and has no difficulties in moving slowly (take it easy) up and down hills and around the island. Driving uphill it needs a little bit of patience, but downhill the REVA is a hit and speeds up to 65 km/h (oops, the next road sign reminds me of the 50 km/h limit). Luckily the next village will appear soon and the 30 km/h speed limit there is the optimal speed for the REVA car!
I believe electric cars are the future vehicles not only for cities like Athens, but also for an island like Paros, as they protect the environment by keeping the atmosphere clean. Letâ€™s give the future a chance by driving with alternative energy, for example solar energy. Did you know that a few private homes on Paros are already self-sufficient and meeting all their own energy requirements from the sun? More on that next time.
REVA Phaedra general technical specifications
Manufacturer: Reva Electric Car Company
Vehicle Type: 2 door, 2 +2 seater hatchback (quadricycle classification)
Construction: Stainless steel safety cage, colour impregnated 100% recyclable ABS Body panels
Drive: Rear wheel drive
Emissions: Zero from car
â€śWell-to-wheelâ€ť pollution: (i) 63 gms CO2 / km when charged with â€śordinaryâ€ť electricity, (ii) Zero gms CO2 / km when charged with â€śgreenâ€ť electricity.
Power Pack: 8 x 6v Lead Acid Batteries connected in series, 200 Amp-hr
Charger: 220- 240V, 2.2 kW, high frequency, switch mode type
Charge Point: 240v / 13 amp RCD protected supply (standard indoor or outdoor socket)
Charge Time: 2.5 hours 80%, 6-8hours 100% (depending on climate conditions)
Brakes: Hydraulic-regenerative braking system
Dimensions: L 2.6m, W 1.3m, H 1.6m
Weight: 665kg inc batteries
Tyres: 13â€ť energy-saving low resistance tubeless
Safety: Tubular steel space frame with side impact beams, energy absorbing bumpers, ABS dent-proof body panels
Warranty: 2 years
Insurance: Group 1