Since 2003 we have had a Toyota Prius. Whilst it doesn’t provide a totally sustainable transport solution, my answer to Jeremy Clarkson and its critics is that at least it is a sign that the motor industry is trying to move the agenda forward and is a stepping stone to a fully electric high performance mass market car. I kept nagging Toyota about when they would be bringing out a people carrier hybrid. They have no plans to but they did have a concept car that they had brought in from Toyota Japan for a motor show that was sitting idle. We have been using it for two years and it’s been brilliant, but sadly it’s had to go back now.
I googled “Hybrid estate cars and people carriers” to see if any manufacturers had or were about to release anything. All I could find was some vague info on a Mercedes estate to be released in 2010 and some talk of a Prius estate.
A few years ago we bought a cute little Nissan Pao that had been imported from Japan. Its a strange 1980s car that is a bit of a cross between a 2CV and a Fiat Panda, a beautiful freak of a car. It’s got an economical 998cc Nissan Micra engine in it and we bought it because we thought it would make a cool, slow and economical first car for our kids. It didn’t work out because as it’s so rare we couldn’t get it insured for them .
So the Pao sat on our drive for years. It seems the sensible thing to do to put this on the road and wait till a hybrid estate or people carrier is available. But it certainly didn’t work out easy. We found a specialist Japanese car insurer, got it insured for £350 (with our 5 years no claim bonus).
A day later my wife (the first named driver) got a phone call from the insurance broker asking if her husband was “The Wayne Hemingway”. She said, thankfully it’s the only Wayne Hemingway she knows and asked why they were asking. They went on to explain that as I was “high profile” they would have to decline the insurance offer. On probing they explained I was deemed high risk because I might travel in the car with “celebrity friends” and that would be a high risk in terms of claims if there was an accident and that I might be “targeted” (whatever that means).
I’ve never considered myself a celebrity.
I think I might wait till a hybrid is available or maybe I should buy a milk float to carry all those (imaginary) “celebrity friends”.
A milk float with Dale Winton’s, Katy Price’s, Graham Norton’s, Peter Andre’s and Danni Minogue’s legs dangling off the side. Now that’s a thought. Maybe we could paint a RAF Target Logo on the roof and see what happens…