‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” said 6th Century BC philosopher Lao Tzu, who founded Taoism, in a famous quote often wrongly attributed to Confucius.
Whether Confucius or Lao, the Spray household is trying to get on its knees and begin crawling on its sustainability “journey”.
Luckily we have a brilliant shop called Noms across the road which specialises in vegetarian food but more importantly, has many products available loose, so you take along your own container and fill it up over there.
Last Sunday, it was something simple. I took over a jar and filled it with peppercorns, picked up some courgettes, avocados and tofu. The week before, it was hand-wash, organic eggs and a kefir drink in a reusable bottle.
Last weekend, I had also spent some time reorganising my study/office. I had bought a bigger and better bookcase and a filing cabinet. That meant we now had no use for the old bookcase – there are already another seven around the house – but it was still in fine condition. Quick as a flash, my wife put it up on a local WhatsApp group for unwanted furniture. By the time we had gone for a drive and the dog’s afternoon walk in Phoenix Park, she had been contacted by an eager person and an hour or two later, he was around at the house. I helped him carry the bookcase out and he was very happily taking home a fine bookcase for free.
So what has this to do with motoring, you may well ask? Last Wednesday, Sean O’Rourke’s programme on RTE Radio One had an item about a pilot project for travel sharing in west Co Clare. People send out messages that they want a lift or have space in a car for a journey you want to take. This could be for a trip to the local town, a lift to the pub, railway station or even to the school, church or graveyard.
All insurance issues have been ironed out with help from FBD. It should help rural isolation and foster a real sense of community. Most cars have three empty seats for the majority of their journeys. Fill them.
The idea of re-use and not wasting resources was very much to the fore in an initiative by Skoda to bring those who have retired back to the showroom to help with car hand-overs, test drives, demonstrations and general information. This will be especially important in the peak January and February buying time, when around 43pc of the year’s purchases are made, and the lead-up to those months.
Using the slogan ‘Simply Older, Still Clever’, it plays on Skoda’s Simply Clever tagline and is fronted by Francis Brennan, Celia Holman Lee and fashion blogger Eileen Smith. At the launch, we heard from Navan man Poraig White who recently returned to work for a few days a week at a local Skoda dealer.
The pride and energy of Poraig was inspirational.
It is like a new lease of life for him: “I stayed with Skoda until I retired in 2010. I was 66. I just felt like I’d had enough. I’d been working for 49 years. Looking back on it, I probably should have stayed at it another while. I’m going back in to do a bit of work in the main dealership in Drogheda and I’m looking forward to it. I’m 75. Most people didn’t live to that age when I was growing up.”
Skoda’s Raymond Leddy said: “We see ourselves as paving the way for others in not just the motor industry but in Irish businesses in general.”
It is crazy to leave such experience, wisdom and skills to wither on the vine. If that was about utilising the past, I trooped out to Weston Airport last Tuesday to see the future or, more relevantly, Volkswagen’s major step into the electric future with the ID.3, the marque’s all-electric model which seems to be slotted in to eventually replace the Golf, whose EV has now been discontinued.
Some 400 bookings have been made over here out of 36,000 across Europe. This might seem small. However, when you take out the big bookers such as Norway and Sweden, this is a very high percentage compared with Britain and Germany. The car, which actually won’t be delivered until next summer, is a very good-looking hatchback, although I fear for its alloys if they pick up any hard wear.
I wasn’t impressed either that the tyres are only run-flats. My experiences of them aren’t great. It’s a roomy five-seater and although the load area looked small, I was told it is bigger by five litres than the Golf. However, it is much higher and anything above the cover level will soon intrude on your view.
Pricing, which will be confirmed next February, will start at under €40,000 but rise to under €50k for the top spec. Early adopters for the first model will get special branding inside and out.
Most importantly, the range of 420km will, claimed VW in a series of workshops, get you anywhere in Ireland from Dublin and at least half way back again.
The company claimed the Irish charging service is in pretty good shape with 1,200 ordinary public stations and 95 fast ones. It is also rolling out its own Ionity fast chargers along the main network, although the south-west and north-west miss out, for the moment anyway.
The ID.3 has a very low overhang at front and rear and while it has family compact space it has the turning circle of the smaller Polo. I was also impressed with VW’s figures that, doing an average 10,000km a year, the monthly fuel cost, using home night charging, would be €13 for the ID.3 against €66 for the I.6 petrol Golf. Road tax, maintenance and servicing would also be much lower.
A special PCP deal for the ID.3 will be priced at around €409 a month for three years with only a 10pc deposit. Half the value of the car would be guaranteed at the end of 36 months. We are going to see a lot of them. If you get one, don’t forget to give people lifts. It will make you feel even better.
And talking of feeling better, the Ford Mustang Mach-E, which is coming next year at around €50,000, will set a grin on everybody’s face. When it arrives in late 2020, Mustang Mach-E will be available with standard and extended-range battery options with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive powered by permanent magnet motors. Equipped with an extended-range battery and rear-wheel drive, Mach‑E has a targeted pure-electric driving range of up to 600km.
Ford also will offer a special performance version. The Mach-E GT is targeting 0-100kmh (0-62mph) acceleration in less than five seconds from the estimated 465PS (342kW) power-plant and 830Nm of torque.
That’s something to show off.