To Hybrid or Not?


Years ago when I was growing up, a certain Swedish car brand gained notoriety for attracting old, slow and overcautious drivers. This welded a reputation about as cool as a boat full of blokes killing whales. It’s nice to be safe, but then most vehicles are safe when they’re driven slowly by old people.

It was the car Nanna would tell Pop to buy and even today it’s the car of choice when fathers buy cheap second-hand vehicles for their P-plate driving daughters.

How things have changed. Scotty McLaughlin’s V8 kick-arse Volvo has ramped up the brand to a show-stealing performance. Go Volvo.

What hasn’t changed is slow drivers and how they collectively pick a car of choice. Now it’s the hybrid.

So basically you get a car that looks silly, throw in an electric motor with a really small petrol motor and bang turns into fizzle without much effort. Imagine being given that to sell.

“Ah, yes Sir, the only fast thing about this car is the airbags, of which there are 47.”

A while back I was working in a mechanical workshop. An insurance rep turned up for a vehicle assessment in his company car. He was driving a hybrid. I greeted him at the big roller door and said, “Mate, five years ago you would’ve been driving a Falcon, how sad is that?” He dropped his shoulders and just shook his head. The shake of a man made to drive a hybrid.

He’d been forced to join a new generation of old, slow and overcautious drivers. Motorists adding to the joys of speed humps and roundabouts making life hell for people obligated to get from A to B just to make ends meet.

But I’m not bitter.

We do need to save the planet. But like carmaker Tesla, can’t we do it in a cool way?

Keep calm, till next time. LF


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Leon Fish

Leon fish is well read, well travelled and under educated. He has written for film and television – the highlight being his full-length feature, Bloodspit, which still holds the record as the cheapest Australian film to ever show at the Cannes film festival.

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