Wall. Street. Crash.

A few months ago on The Coffee House, we featured the G-Wiz, an Indian-made electric vehicle that has proved increasingly popular amongst urban drivers eager to avoid congestion charges. The distributors claim that, on average, they are selling one to two cars a day in London. We have no figures on how many of these little runabouts were bought by Coffee House readers, but we hope they drive carefully.

A 64 kph crash test, performed on behalf of the BBC’s Top Gear to EuroNCAP standards, resulted in damage severe enough to have “the potential to cause serious or life-threatening injuries to the vehicle occupants”. A Department of Transport 56 kph test also gave results serious enough for the Government to seek a review of the European regulations for quadricycles. “Quadricycles”? Amazingly, although these vehicles look like cars, officially they aren’t, because they aren’t heavy enough or fast enough.

GoinGreen, the company that sells the G-Wiz in Britain, says: ‘The G-Wiz is designed and used as a low-speed urban commuter vehicle…’. 64 kph isn’t exactly street racer territory. The ‘safe driving tips’ on their website also advise G-Wiz drivers to ‘avoid fast roads’. That’s all very well, but what happens when your G-Wiz collides with a 4×4 coming the other way? Or even another G-Wiz?

I shall not be taking up GoinGreen’s offer of a test drive.


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13 Responses to Wall. Street. Crash.

  1. Lara says:

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  2. matt says:

    I wouldn’t go around the M25 in anything less than a tank.

  3. Pete Smith says:

    I wouldn’t go around the M25 in anything less than a coma or a straight jacket.

  4. matt says:

    Even better still, driving a tank around the M25 whilst in a straight jacket.

  5. Phil Cummins says:

    We need to strike a balance somewhere right? Between cars and bikes that are environment friendly, and that’s what the G-wiz does! The important thing to take away from these tests are that, the risk is always going to be there, given the car’s form factor, but Its much safer than a two wheeler on an highway, I would say, the G-wiz is definitely a great car, has an outstanding safety record.. check their site here for further stats: http://www.goingreen.co.uk/store/content/news/

  6. Pete Smith says:

    I’m sure there are people out there who think vehicles like this are great. Good luck to them, as long as they realise the potential risks. In the Top Gear test the G-Wiz crumpled significantly at 40 mph, equivalent to a head-on collision between two vehicles travelling at 20 mph. Given the increasing speed of urban traffic (when it’s moving, I know average speeds are the same as in the 18th Century) I wouldn’t want to be in even a minor tonk in one of these things.

  7. Andrew Butcher says:

    I think G-Wiz had been tested and approved when it got launched. I don’t understand the sudden rage that’s happening. The following link gives a counter view on the issue http://www.goingreen.co.uk/store/content/news/

  8. matt says:

    Your link is to the company that sells them!

    Pete, who originally posted this article is away this week but, I believe Pete’s concerns are purely about the H&S of small vehicles like the G-Wiz. There’s a similar concern with all small vehicles, no matter what energy is used to propel them.

    I’ve seen a number of them on the street and they are incredibly small. Certainly no good for a family!

  9. Sandra says:

    Let’s look at G-Wiz in a more realistic way! Its a car specially designed for city needs. People use it for traveling short distance. Its not the kinda car where you can take for long trips. With the shrinking parking space and ever increasing four wheelers I think it’s nice to have a small vehicles that you can park at ease.

  10. matt says:

    That’s certainly one of their attractions for potential buyers. But, more accidents happen in built-up areas than they do on motorways. And if you’re involved with a car accident … that’s realistic.

  11. Pete Smith says:

    There’s a major perception problem with the G-Wiz. It’s designed to look like a cute tiny car, people keep referring to it as a car, and there’s a danger that people will expect it to have a car’s safety features. But it’s not a car, it’s a quadricycle, a clasification with a completely different set of safety standards, which it’s only fair to say the G-Wiz passes with flying colours.
    I was amused to see that the distributors’ web site promotes the ’safety’ benefits of the G-Wiz’s crumple zone “designed to protect passengers in low speed collisions”. This is the same crumple zone that took the legs off the crash test dummy in a 40 mph head-on collision. I accept that, as yet, the G-Wiz appears not to have been involved in as many serious accidents as ‘normal’ vehicles. Perhaps this is due to the driving style of G-Wiz owners. Quite how you prevent some idiot in an SUV driving into you at 40 mph is not covered in the distributors’ FAQ.

  12. Joseph says:

    The perception problem is well addressed! I just wants to clarify that generally people drive less than 20 km/h on the city roads. The crash test was actually done at its maximum speed! Other wise G-Wiz seems to be a nice vehicle to possess.

  13. Pete Smith says:

    “The crash test was actually done at its maximum speed!”
    The DC model indeed has a quoted top speed of 40 mph. The new AC model can reach 45 mph.
    However, the point I’ve been trying to make is that a head-on collision between a G-Wiz and, say, a Range Rover, both doing 30 mph, will have similar disastrous results to those observed in the crash test.
    “generally people drive less than 20 km/h on the city roads”
    As I’ve pointed out before, while average urban traffic speeds are low as you say, speeds while in motion are much higher, often in excess of speed limits.

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