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Mike Waters' blog: 2 August 2013 - Don't knock it until you've tried it

Date: 02 August 2013

Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at leasing and fleet management company Arval

Many drivers have an opinion on new vehicle technologies. Are they practical? Do they save you money? Can I cope with the range? Is the performance comparable to more traditional vehicles?

These are just some of the questions that drivers take a view on. But many seem to form an opinion having never driven these vehicles, especially full electric cars and vans, which today are not common on our roads.

Having driven a number of these vehicles myself, it's a really interesting experience. Of course there are range restrictions with electric vehicles so they are only practical for some drivers depending on their usage requirements.

However from a pure driving perspective, my experience of electric vehicles has been positive. They are quiet, well equipped, responsive and of course there is no torque band so all the power is there from the moment you switch it on.

Plus there's the added bonus that you can drive past fuel stations without needing to fork out and fill up.

So before making vehicle choices, it's important to build your knowledge - and ideally with first-hand driving experience. You also need to get a handle on the role that the driver makes to vehicle performance.

Again using electric as the example, it feels very similar to driving any other petrol or diesel vehicle, but you do need to modify your normal driving behaviour. Driving carefully to maximize range and using the regenerative braking strategically are all skills that need to be mastered.

I'm not saying everyone should rush out and get an electric vehicle - the point that I'm making is that vehicle selection should be based on tangible facts and not on hearsay - a practice that stacks up when choosing any type of vehicle or any technology. While fully understanding the driver experience and the considerations that go with this is also essential.

With any vehicle, for any purpose, I would advocate trying before selecting.