Our journey to Highgate in an eco car was truly electric

LAST week eco champion Cllr Alexis Rowell and I attended the launch of the first fully electric car club car in Camden, on the east side of Lincoln s Inn Field, and it comes courtesy of Hertz. It s a chic brand new blue four-door Citroen C1 and is surpris

LAST week eco champion Cllr Alexis Rowell and I attended the launch of the first fully electric car club car in Camden, on the east side of Lincoln's Inn Field, and it comes courtesy of Hertz.

It's a chic brand new blue four-door Citroen C1 and is surprisingly large inside - far more so than the Gee Wiz or Mega. Hertz has a special launch offer to Camden citizens to waive its �50 annual membership fee to 'Connect by Hertz', which also accesses any of their couple of hundred petrol cars located at 60 car club locations all over London.

I signed up just to get my hands on the fully electric Citroen and it's certainly the best deal I've enjoyed this year.

As cycling champion for Camden, of course I pedalled over to Lincoln's Inn and duly tried it the next day for an hour for just �3 - what a steal!

I drove up to Highgate and back through Hampstead - just 15 miles and it was great fun.

I'm sure lots of Ham & High readers like me would like to 'try before you buy' a fully electric carbon-free car and there can't be a better way. It is so utterly silent that I phoned up to ask how I get it started when it was already running!

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It climbed Swain's Lane, a 20 per cent gradient, with ease, albeit reduced to 20 mph.

Elsewhere - though I'm not admitting where - I touched 50mph. One thing one does need to get used to: ike my old Citroen 2CV one has to send a message to the motor in advance of moving off - there's quite a lag. It's also more reassuringly substantial than the current alternatives.

I do envisage a similar problem for electric car drivers that we cyclists encounter all the time: pedestrians rely on their hearing and, hearing nothing, they leap off the pavement without looking around - and then they get a surprise when the cyclist or electric vehicle is almost upon them. Silence is not always golden, which is why my bike has a great big bell.

Paul Braithwaite

Camden's Cycling Champion

and Lib Dem councillor