Ken drives over to the green side

Ken Gibson


This week was a momentous moment in my motoring life, I moved into the green lane.

After over 30 years as a motoring journalist I’ve taken the plunge and bought a plug in hybrid car. 

Okay it’s more of dipping my toe in the shallow end rather than a dive into the deep end, but when you're retired and spending your own money, a Volvo XC90 hybrid seemed the logical move because buying a used hybrid is also cheaper than buying new.

Obviously I’ve driven many electric cars when I was Motoring Editor of The Sun. I was the first UK journalist to drive a Nissan Leaf and I was the first to drive the original all electric Mini prototype in California over ten years ago. It had a massive battery that meant no room for any rear seats, and a range of around 60 miles. Comparing that with today’s version which has four seats and a range of 145 miles and you see just how far electric has come.

But right now to suit my motoring needs and lifestyle I still like the security of a petrol powered electric hybrid that means I get over 400 mile range, and don’t have to worry about finding a charging station. 

And for me the XC90 hybrid is the ideal solution, it’s big and comfortable, a necessity with six grandkids and a dog, while Volvo have clearly embraced an electric future so I’m confident I’ll be kept bang up-to date with changes as they happen.

My car was a used but my Volvo dealership gave me an excellent and realistic breakdown of the XC90’s capabilities and limitations - I’ve found that the all electric range is genuinely between 20 and 25 miles.

They also put me in touch with their new electricity charging partner, Newmotion, which fitted my wall box at home, which together with applying for the Government’s OLEV grant that saves hundreds of pounds, costs £519 and took just over a month before arriving. They also provide you with a Charge card so you have access to the full NewMotion network.

I’ll report back to you in the months ahead on the reality of just how easy and quick it is to charge and use the Volvo out on the road, for a realistic appraisal in real world daily driving. And if I enjoy the experience there is every likelihood I will consider going all the way with an all electric model. 

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