Category Archives: Uncategorized

Do you own a classic car?

Or would you like to? Here’s the thing about that phrase ‘classic car’ – it means different things to different people. That’s what makes it pretty easy if you’re the editor of a magazine or website with the words ‘classic car’ in the title – you can choose almost any car from any era (and then justify your choice).

classic car

One theory holds that a particular car is likely to earn that classic car status approximately thirty years after it was either…

  • a very common car
  • a popular luxury or sports car

And you don’t necessarily need to be a billionaire to get a bit of fun out of a classic car and make money on it when it comes time to sell. As making money on the stock market is not quite as straightforward as it used to be, quite a few people are turning to classic cars as investments.

1967 Alfa SpiderA quick look at, as an example, the Alfa Romeo Spider model (1967 model pictured here) on an Australian car sales site confirms this – the oldest car listed is a 1974 red Alfa Spider priced at $34,000, whereas a 1998 model is only $4,780. Even a low kilometre 2008 model Spider is $9,000 cheaper than the ‘classic’.

And at a certain point some car values just start heading into the stratosphere. Ferraris of course figure quite highly in the lists of ‘highest prices’, and they have always had an interesting approach to selling their cars. Apparently, when deciding how many of a particular model to manufacture, they work out the size of the market for that model, and then make one less.

A combination of short model runs and a design that catches the eye, can make a particular model a classic.

As you might expect, Ferrari dominates the international auction price records, with a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO currently holding the record for highest price paid at auction – a whopping US$38M achieved at auction in Carmel in California in 2014. But it might also be worth hanging on to that Alfa Spider for a bit longer as well – a 1939 Alfa 8C 2900B Lungo Spider fetched nearly US$20M at auction in California in 2016 – in ninth spot for the highest price paid.

The other problem with buying cars at this end of the spectrum is that there is very little incentive to take the car out on the road (see below), which surely is the main reason for having the car in the first place. So what quite a few car lovers do is have their main vehicle as a pretty standard (reasonably) modern and reliable model, and the other car in the garage is the classic.

One interesting combination we’re aware of is one owner, who has (or had) a garage with, on one side, the daily commute – a Hyundai four wheel drive – sitting pretty next to a classic Ferrari 308GTB on the other.

Unlike the phrase ‘classic’, other descriptors of older vehicles, such as ‘vintage’ or ‘veteran’ have more precise definitions. A ‘vintage’ car is technically one that was made between 1919 and 1930. A ‘veteran’ car is a car made before 1919, although some purists limit the use of the term to cars made before 1905.

One of the great things about buying any car that’s over 30 years old, is that most of the states around Australia allow you to pay a lower registration fee as long as you meet certain conditions – such as limited driving on public roads. South Australia for example, relaxed the rules around ‘historic’ vehicle registration recently so that they can be driven on the open road for up to 90 days in any one year and you only pay a minimal annual registration fee. Other states generally do not allow a vehicle on a ‘special interest’ registration to drive on public roads unless you’re going to and from a classic car meet or other similar function.

So if you like historic and classic cars, perhaps head over to SA! And if you’re going to buy one, make sure you give us a call…

Image credit (Alfa Spider image):

Is your car up to towing a caravan?

A caravan is a hefty piece of kit – it can weigh anything from around 1500kg to 3500kg or more, and so it’s important to make sure that your existing (or prospective new) vehicle can handle the load. What’s more, it’s a good idea to leave a little room for manoeuvre rather than have a car/caravan combination which is near the max.

If you’ve seen any of the ‘caravan’ episodes of Top Gear you’ll know that, when things go wrong with caravans, it’s not pretty. However if you’re a caravan newbie, reading all of the information online to help you work out safe – and legal – car/caravan combinations, you’d be forgiven for thinking you need a PhD in physics. There’s a lot of jargon involved, although the concepts are in fact fairly straightforward.

Interestingly, when it comes to the law, there are in fact no legislated ‘safety margins’ as such for caravans (or ‘trailers’ as they are referred to in the legislation) in Australia – there are simply maximum towing weights for all vehicles and maximum laden weights for all towed vehicles, including caravans, and maximum combined weights.

The Caravan Council of Australia, however, advises that in all cases ‘the laden tow-vehicle should weigh 30% more than the laden caravan/trailer’.

To fully understand what is ‘legal’ and what is ‘recommended’, it’s important first of all to understand the jargon. Here are some of the terms you will hear bandied about…

Tare Mass
This refers to the weight of a vehicle or caravan when it is empty (ie ‘unladen’). It is specified by the manufacturer and includes those fluids (eg oil/coolant/fuel in the tank) that the vehicle would need to run, but does not include driver/passengers/luggage or any aftermarket additions.

Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM)
This refers to the maximum permissible weight of the vehicle/caravan ie how much extra load it can carry before exceeding its limits. GVM for a towing vehicle must include any extra weight put on the vehicle via the towball (see below).

Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM)
This refers to the maximum weight of a caravan when it is being towed. It is the tare mass plus any other load in the caravan itself. This rating is set by the caravan manufacturer. It only applies when the caravan is in motion, not when it is parked, and needs to include the weight of any accessories added after purchase, and the weight of any onboard gas and/or water etc.

Tow Ball Download (TBD)
This refers to the weight of the caravan transferred to the towing vehicle via the towball. It must be included in the calculation of GVM for the towing vehicle above to determine whether it (the towing vehicle) is within its permitted maximum weight. As a very general guide, TBD is normally around 10% of the total weight of the caravan.

In addition the towing vehicle will have the following important specifications (listed in the manual or on vehicle specifications, which can normally be found on the manufacturer’s website)…

Maximum Braked Towing Capacity – this is the weight limit for a caravan equipped with brakes
Maximum Tow Ball Download – as above
Gross Combination Mass (GCM) – the maximum combined weight of the vehicle and caravan

If you are in the process of buying a caravan of course it’s very important to be aware of these limits and to heed the association’s advice. If you get a combination which maxxes out the towing vehicle’s specifications, you will considerably increase fuel consumption and maximise the load on the chassis and suspension, not to mention the tyres and brakes. You will also have little room for manoeuvre on steep hills, and during high winds and other challenging driving conditions.

For these reasons, a smart option is to choose the caravan you like first and then choose the most appropriate towing vehicle!

Whether you’re getting just a caravan or a caravan and new vehicle to tow it, give us a call at Ezilend and we’ll of course help you sort out the finance…

Image credit:

Playing the game at the dealership

If you’ve ever bought a new car from a dealership you’ll probably know the routine. Financing the new car is of course very important, and our advice is to shop around for a loan before you go into the dealership. Feel free to give us a call here at Ezilend and we can get your finance sorted, so you can go into the car dealership with finance ready to roll.

car dealership

Although finance is pretty important, there’s more to it than that (and read our previous article on this here – Keep your wits about you before taking up dealership finance). In fact it’s a game that plays out along very similar lines, irrespective of which car you’re interested in.

Phase one is of course to do your research. Don’t just read the reviews, have a good look on all of the car sales sites and see what prices various dealers are putting on the car you’re after. That way you can make sure that when you choose the dealer/s to go into, you have a good idea what you should be paying. And if you’re planning on trading in your current vehicle, do the same research on it too, so you know if you’re being offered the right trade-in value.

Phase two is walking into the dealership. The process is very much choreographed once you’re in and it’s a psychological battle as much as anything. Of course today the internet gives the buyer a lot more power – you can research every last detail, but don’t underestimate the lure of that brand spanking shiny new car sitting right in front of you, literally begging you to pull out your hard-earned on the spot. Resist the temptation. Let the car salesman (or just as likely saleswoman) go through the process. There may be various offers and incentives put your way – just remember the research you did, and ideally visit a few dealerships for the brand you’re after to make sure you’re getting the best deal. This does take a bit of time though – expect to spend 1-2 hours in each dealership.

Car dealerships rely on the initial excitement and a well-honed strategy of starting with a high price and coming down, often linked into a ‘promotion’, which normally ends the day after you go in. You may often get a ‘this price is only valid today’. This is very rarely true, however – if you are able to forward plan your purchase – it’s a great idea to buy either at the end of the month, or the quarter, or best of all at the end of the financial year. This is when stock must get moved on.

Should you get the extras?

Once you have identified the dealer offering the best price, and the car is definitely the one you want, you will be shuffled off to see the last person – the person who will talk to you about all of the essential ‘add-ons’ you should take with your new car. For many dealerships the margin on the car is very small, so they’re interested in extra income from add-ons and, of course, from the income from the ongoing service schedule you will need to keep to, to make sure your warranty remains valid (a new car warranty is not in fact invalidated if you take your car elsewhere to be serviced, although it can complicate matters should you make a claim).

Add-ons generally fall into three categories…

  • Paint protection
  • Upholstery protection
  • Tinted windows

…and sometimes a service to fix those occasional dints and scratches that it’s generally not worth claiming on insurance. Are these extras worth the money? There’s no clear answer to this. Here are the pros and cons…


  • If you get the add-ons at the dealership you just take the car back in if there are ever any problems related to that add-on
  • It’s all done for you before you pick up the car – no need to take it in later to have the work done
  • If you are financing the car it’s easy to add the extra cost into the entire car loan
  • You can be fairly certain that the work will be done to a reasonably high standard – the car brand will not want to be associated with any problems relating to the add-on down the line


  • the add-on may not be necessary – it is a new car after all
  • getting add-ons done at point of sale at the dealership can be more expensive that getting the same job done at an external company

To an extent the dealership relies on the fact that you probably don’t know about latest paint protection technologies, or how much it would cost to get the same treatment elsewhere, so again… a bit of research goes a long way.

Once you have – quite literally – negotiated your way through the buying process, don’t forget the other stuff you need to organise just before you pick up the car… make sure you’ve swapped your insurance over to the new car, and don’t forget to take your toll tag out of your old car and inform the toll company of your change of vehicle. Then you can relax, and enjoy your new wheels!

Image credit:,

Could you live on a boat?

Living full time on a boat conjures up a picture of an idyllic lifestyle – cruising from one beautiful location to another. But… practically, what is it really like? Is it affordable? Is it doable?

The answer to these questions is really ‘it depends’. There are plenty of people who do live on their boats and there are plenty of great stories on the web about how liberating the lifestyle is. On the other hand you have to be prepared to live in a lot less space, with a lot less storage than you’d find in even the smallest house.

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of the advantages and disadvantages of a life on the ocean wave… (we’ll start with the bad news)


You can’t do much about the weather, and you’re even more exposed on the water than you are on land. You do need to keep your eye on the weather and be prepared to move your vessel to a safe haven if very bad weather threatens.

As mentioned above, there’s generally very little on a boat. Catamarans have a little more than single hulled boats.

Getting wet
Nobody likes getting soaked, not even hardened boaties, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

Especially if you’re berthed in a marina, you’ve got a fair bit less privacy than in a house. Plus most people living aboard don’t have a washing machine, so the local laundromat – wherever you are – may become a regular haunt.

Value of your new home
Unfortunately your new home on water is more likely to go down in value, rather than go up – a bit different to buying property on land.

And now for the good news…


A lot of costs which just go with the territory with a house, are much smaller (or non-existent) on a boat. These include for example power bills and council rates. There are some costs of course, such as mooring fees and/or marina fees. But if you still own your house and rent it out, the rent will generally more than cover any marina fees.

Although in a marina you might have the occasional boat-based party, as a rule barking dogs and the like are a rarity. Neighbours are generally pretty friendly and have the same interest in sailing/boating as you do. They can also be a great source of help and knowledge, particularly if you’re relatively new to life on the water.

Living a free lifestyle
By free, we mean, free to do what you want, when you want. If you’d like to sail to another part of the coast, or even to another country, you can do so on a whim (almost).

Maintenance is a double-edged sword – if you own a boat, but don’t live on it, maintenance can be a bit of a chore, but if you live on the boat you are there so maintenance is a little easier. However a boat owner needs to be reasonably ‘handy’ and having some knowledge of how engines and other devices/machines on board work is a definite advantage. You can get people in to fix things on the boat, but marine specialists generally charge more than your standard tradie.


In the final analysis, you have to do your sums* and work out whether you’d be happy living onboard the boat you can afford, and whether you are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices for a life on the ocean.

One of the most important pieces of advice we have seen repeated over and over is the importance of checking out the seaworthiness of any boat you like the look of – get both the hull and the motor checked over by a professional before buying any boat. It’s no good falling in love with a boat, only to find out that it has major problems. This can be a problem buying anywhere to live, but getting it wrong with a boat is a bit more serious – your new home could sink or at the very least require a lot of money spent on it to keep it shipshape. Makes sure that BOAT doesn’t stand for Better Organise Another Thousand!

*and when you’re doing your sums give us a call and we can help you with your boat loan

Image credit:

A short history of park assist technology

It’s one of those manoeuvres that separates the men from the boys – or women from the girls if you prefer – the reverse park (or ‘reverse parallel park’ to be pedantic). In theory, if you have passed your driving test, you should be able to perform the manoeuvre, however not all driving tests around Australia have a compulsory reverse park as part of the test – so you may be able to get away with not mastering it – maybe.

tight parking

Given the difficulty some people have with parking in a tight space, it won’t surprise you to know that car manufacturers have been looking at ways to help people reverse park for quite a while.

Of course, now there are many vehicles for sale in Australia that feature some form of assisted parking, but it was back in 1934 that the very first car was fitted with a system to assist drivers to park. For some strange reason it didn’t catch on, although perhaps it had something to do with the way it worked – the car was manually jacked up onto another set of wheels at ninety degrees to the main wheels and literally moved sideways into the parking spot.

Today’s systems, which are available on a surprisingly wide range of different brands and vehicle types, are one of two broad types – those where the car steers itself into the space but the driver must select the gear and control the accelerator, and those which are largely autonomous, that is the car controls the entire manoeuvre from start to finish. There are even some cars where you can get out of the car and instruct it to park itself, using the key… or your smartphone.

The first genuine attempt to implement self parking technology in a modern vehicle was in 1992, when VW demonstrated the Futura concept car, which had four wheel steering – using the main wheels this time – and could again move sideways into a parking spot. This feature was never incorporated into any commercial VW vehicles.

The first global manufacturer to actually sell a vehicle with park assistance was Toyota, who released their Prius hybrid model in 2003 with an automated parallel parking system called ‘Intelligent Parking Assist’. It didn’t take long for other brands to follow suit, with Lexus adding parking assistance to their LS model in 2006, and Ford and BMW coming to the party in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

As you might expect, Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar are at the forefront of the park assist technology. The Mercedes system, on board the C-Class saloon, will even scan parking bays for an empty spot as you drive slowly along. When you have decided where you want to park, the car does the rest for you. If you buy a C-Class at the SE model level or above, it comes as standard.

Both the BMW 5 Series and the Jaguar XF work in a similar fashion to the Mercedes, in as much as they will ‘hunt out’ a space for you. The Jag however has another interesting feature – it will also steer itself out of a tight space when it’s time to leave!

You can’t discuss park assist technology without mentioning the Tesla S, which has a pretty advanced parking system – all fully autonomous. It also has a feature James Bond (or maybe Johnny English) would be proud of, called ‘Summon’, where the car can drive itself out of a tight space – presumably while you watch on. The next step – promised by Tesla – is for the car to drive itself up to the front door when ‘summoned’. Chauffeur service without the chauffeur!

But don’t think you have to get a high end car to get park assist – the latest Ford Fiesta comes with a parking assistance system. Overkill, anybody?

Image credit:

Excavator or skidsteer, or something else?

When it comes to getting the right equipment for your job, or for your business, here’s a quick and dirty (pardon the pun) look at diggers and excavators, and which types are suited for various types of jobs.


From small to large…


The main manufacturer of these is Bobcat and in fact their name has become synonymous with this piece of kit. A skidsteer is essentially a small, highly manoeuvrable digger that is good to have when you’re working in a confined space or when getting to where you need to do the work involves narrow access, for example if you need to go round the side of a house to get to the backyard.

Skidsteers are able to literally ‘turn on a dime’ as their steering is independent on each side, so while the wheels (or tracks) are going forward on one side, they are going backwards on the other, enabling so-called ‘zero radius’ turning. Skidsteers like the Bobcat also come with a huge range of different attachments for different types of jobs – from stump grinders, to mowers and blowers for landscaping type projects, to more conventional buckets and even forklift type pallet forks.

The only downside of skidsteers is their limited size and power, which makes bigger jobs, like digging huge holes in the ground, not the ideal use for them.

Skidsteers are a great choice for work involving for example…

  • Excavating a hole for an in-ground swimming pool
  • Rubbish removal on a building site
  • Landscaping work in backyards with narrow entry/exit points (as above)
  • Backfilling


If you’re looking to make light work of a bigger project and can get wide access to the site, a conventional excavator will be the right choice. Major projects like large scale construction, building demolition and major landscaping projects will get done more quickly and easily with an excavator. Excavators can be anything from 1.5 tonnes to 13 tonne behemoths.

Loaders & Backhoes Loaders

Other types of equipment that perform similar, but slightly different roles are the loader, predominantly used for scooping up and transporting larger amounts of material (eg earth, sand, rubbish) from one spot to another, and the hybrid backhoe loader.

They are not really designed to do any digging, however (confusingly) the iconic JC Bamford (better known as JCB) digger seen on building sites around the world is technically a ‘backhoe loader’ and designed to do the digging and the transporting. Developed by JCB in the UK in 1953, the machine rapidly became a fixture on smaller building sites, for its relatively small size and flexibility. Much like the Bobcat, backhoe loaders can be fitted with a wide variety of accessories to allow all sorts of jobs to be performed, from digging holes to trenches, to moving material around.

There are plenty of resources on the internet to help you decide which piece – or pieces – of equipment you will need for your project or business. Just like cars have people like Jeremy Clarkson to tell us which car to buy, there are also a few people out there who review building, landscaping and construction equipment! Here’s a site that has reviewed a range of mini excavators for example – ‘6 awesome mini excavators’ and there are also reviews of individual models such as these…

McLoughlin J1T Mini Excavator
CAT 308E2 Mini Excavator

As well as speaking to the manufacturers and dealers, it’s also worth hiring out different types of equipment first to get an idea of how they work and how suitable they would be. Once you’re ready to get your own, call us at Ezilend and we’ll help you with the equipment loan!

The fastest cars… in the world

The urge to go faster must be deep-rooted in the human psyche – before cars it was trains and horses, but still the same urge. Perhaps it has something to do with our ancestors having to outrun large hungry marauding animals with big sharp teeth.

hennessy venom

Despite the fact that the vast majority of roads in the world have speed limits imposed on them (the well known exceptions being stretches of motorway in Italy or Germany), the need for speed is still there, and there’s no shortage of car manufacturers willing and able to help people satisfy that need. That satisfaction can be pretty pricey though – top speed cars command top speed prices.

There’s also the issue of how you define the word ‘fastest’. The Guinness Book of Records has a category for ‘production’ cars as opposed to say F1 cars – the vehicle must be in production, that is not be a one-off prototype, it must be road legal, and produced in sufficient number to be classified as available for the public to buy. This can be a pretty small number*.

Also, what aspect of speed are you measuring? The traditional top speed measurement is not the only one. A more useful measure is of acceleration – this is much more useful on the road than absolute top speed. If you’re driving a Porsche 911 behind three cars towing caravans on a single lane road, you’re much more likely to be able to overtake them all in one go than if you were driving a Hyundai Getz, and this is all about the acceleration, not top speed (witnessed by your author once in the UK).

Again your ability to get from point A to point B on a windy road has as much to do with the handling of the car than its sheer engine power. So by these three measures it’s perfectly possible you’d have three different cars winning the coveted title of fastest car.

Having said all of this, US-based website Digital Trends has recently put up an article about the fastest 25 production cars in the world and defaulted to top speed as the base measure, so that will have to do.

What’s really interesting with this list is firstly, how quickly things change in the rarified world of sper fast cars and secondly, how some brands you’d expect to be near the top just aren’t. Beautiful cars though they may be, Ferrari and Lamborghini are present in the list, but not really anywhere near the top.

A surprising late entrant to the list is Tesla’s new roadster, coming in at number 7 with a claimed top speed of 250mph (402 km/h) and all on electric power, with a battery pack twice the size of either the Tesla S or X models. Elon Musk has always worked on the premise that the electric car must compete on all measures with its petrol powered equivalents, and the new Roadster seems to have pulled this off, also boasting an impressive range of 620 miles (998 km) before it runs out of puff.

And some brands you’d expect to see included aren’t – BMW for example, although its engines power some of the cars in the list – the McLaren F1 has a 6.1l V12 BMW engine in it for example.

The other surprise is how many quite old models are still in the list – as well as the McLaren F1, the Jaguar XJ220 is also still there (with a top speed of 217 mph / 349 km/h), despite the fact that it was built in 1992.

Finally, another sign of the times is how the list is not completely dominated by conventional internal combustion engine driven cars. The Tesla is the only pure electric car that makes the list, but there are three other hybrid drive cars that also appear – the Porsche 918 Spyder, the McLaren P1 and the eponymous Ferrari LaFerrari models. How long will it be before all the cars in the list are electric?

Did we forget to mention the fastest car? According to Digital Trends (but not, we might add, the Guinness Book of Records) it is the Hennessy Venom F5 with a top speed of 301 mph (484 km/h) and a price tag of AU$1.53M. It’s based on the rather less pricey Lotus Exige which comes in at a (comparatively) more affordable AU$139,000. Give us a call when you need to arrange the car loan. For either model.

*25, apparently

Image credit: Hennessy Venom GT

So you’re thinking of buying a camper trailer?

Camper trailers can be a great way to go if you’re looking to head out into the great blue yonder and explore what Australia has to offer. But if you’ve never done it before, you might be finding it hard to work out whether the camper trailer option is for you or if you’d be better off choosing another option.

camper trailer

When it comes to the great outdoors, there’s no lack of choice, and to a great extent it depends on how ‘authentic’ an experience you’re looking for, in other words how many creature comforts you’re willing to go without on your trip. If it’s for a series of relatively short trips, then you might be perfectly happy with a tent chucked in the back of the car. However, if whatever you choose is going to be your de facto home for a period of time, read on…

Here are your options, in ascending order of ‘comfort’…

  • Camper trailer
  • Campervan
  • Caravan
  • Motorhome

The first distinguishing feature between all of these is price – a nice motorhome can easily set you back over $100,000 but is as close as you can get to your own home ‘on the road’. One luxury motorhome – a German one we believe – even had a tray underneath where you could store your open top Mercedes roadster.

So here are the advantages of choosing the camper trailer option…

Advantage 1 – Cost

Caravans and campervans are of course less expensive, with the humble camper trailer coming in at the most affordable end of the scale – in fact you can get hold of a decent secondhand camper trailer for not much more than $2,000-$3,000, even though the top end ones can set you back significantly more than this. So the first advantage of a camper trailer is… price.

Advantage 2 – Easier to tow

It’s much easier driving a car with a camper trailer hooked on the back than a conventional caravan. Caravans, being bulkier and heavier, really need a more powerful car engine and rear vision is not as good as with a camper trailer. Also wind has much less effect on a camper trailer than on a caravan when driving.

Advantage 3 – Just the right amount of creature comforts

Camper trailers, although not as extensively kitted out as caravans and motorhomes, still come with some of those conveniences it’s nice to have on a roadtrip, such as a kitchen, storage room and beds that you don’t have to set up each time (and that are more comfortable than sleeping in a tent).

Advantage 4 – More waterproof than a tent

Particularly hard floor type camper trailers, which have a raised floor, so less in the way of rain problems.

Advantage 5 – Doesn’t take up the entire driveway

A camper trailer has a much smaller footprint than a caravan and is easy to tuck away in a corner when you’re not on the road.

Advantage 6 – You’re still a ‘camper’

Sometimes part of the fun of camping is just that – a connection with the outdoors. A camper trailer gives you the best of both worlds – the good bits of camping with some of those ‘little luxuries’ at hand!


There are a variety of different types of camper trailer as well. Perhaps the best option, if you’re still working out whether a camper trailer is for you, is to hire one for a short trip, or even hire different types so that you can compare them. Once you’ve made your choice, give us a call and get a loan arranged for your new purchase if you need one!

Image credit:

Who killed the electric car? And who’s reviving it today

Eleven years ago a movie called ‘Who killed the electric car’ came out chronicling how General Motors developed and introduced an all electric car back in the mid 1990s – the EV1 – and how the project failed and was ultimately cancelled. The movie doesn’t explicitly state why, but suggests that established interests in the oil and automotive industry and the government were not exactly in favour of a move to all electric drive vehicles at the time.

electric car charging

Although the EV1 had a pretty respectable range – 100 miles (161kms, still suitable for most daily drive distances today), it was nonetheless perceived as not being enough, especially as charging – as today – took a lot longer than filling a petrol tank. The other issue at the time and still a factor today, is that there was (and still is) no nationwide network of charging stations in any country to allow longer journeys.

All this looks like it might finally be changing. A combination of factors has made this possible, but perhaps the most significant is big advances in battery technology, so that today not only can batteries allow greater distances to be driven on one charge, the time it takes to recharge these batteries is coming down as well. And in some parts of the world (including to a limited extent Australia) governments are either subsidising or building the infrastructure needed to support all electric vehicles.

Two other factors are helping this along – firstly an increased awareness of the environmental impact of petrol and diesel engined vehicles, and secondly an understanding of the savings that can be achieved in terms of running costs (see our previous article – Running on the small of an oily rag) compared to conventional ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles. The Tesla S for example has less than 150 moving parts against a normal car, which can have up to 10,000. In a nutshell this means there are much fewer things that can go wrong and this is one reason why Tesla offers a lifetime guarantee on its cars. It can also ‘service’ its customers’ vehicles remotely via a type of software update over the internet – so Teslas in theory never need to go in for a service.

Tesla is certainly leading the way in electric car manufacturing, but it is also encouraging mainstream car manufacturers to take the leap into all electric. Of course there are already a few all electric cars out there, although the industry as a whole has so far tended to opt for halfway house solutions – hybrid vehicles that operate with an internal combustion engine and an electric motor.

2018 however may see this change, with a slew of all electric vehicles due on the market in Australia. Tesla is – unsurprisingly – leading the charge with their new ‘affordable’ model, the Tesla 3 due in Australia next year. Likely to be priced at around $50,000 and around half the price of their current high end Tesla S, the 3 will nonetheless come with pretty good specifications – a 0-100 acceleration time of under 6 seconds, a range of 345km and a rapid charging option that will allow the car to recharge in less than 15 minutes – less even than the Tesla S which takes 30 minutes on a supercharging system to recharge the battery.

Hot on the heels of Tesla will be Hyundai, with their Iconiq model which will offer an all electric variant, price at around $35,000, the next generation Nissan Leaf with a rumoured 550km range on the top model (likely to be priced to compete with the Tesla 3), and Jaguar with their I PACE model, which promises a 500km range, a rapid charging option and a blisteringly quick 0-100 time of under 4 seconds – nearly Lamborghini territory. If you like the sound of the Jag you will have to wait until the end of 2018 and have around $120,000 in your back pocket.

Maybe 2018 is the year to take the plunge, get the car loan and go all electric!

Image credit:

Thinking of buying your first jetski?

Jetskis have been around since the mid 60s when an Australian called Clayton Jacobsen II (who lived in Byron Bay) was looking for a sports activity as fun as his (then) sport of motocross, but with less chance of getting hurt when you fell off. He based his original design on smaller personal water craft developed in the UK and Germany which were then called ‘water scooters’.


The big difference between a regular boat and a jetski is that it is powered by an internal water jet motor as opposed to the more conventional outboard. The motor sucks water through an inlet on the bottom of the jetski using an impeller, and this water is then jetted out the back to propel the jetski forward. The jetski is manoeuvred from left to right using the handlebars which move the nozzle of the water jet from side to side.

As quite a lot of water has to be forced through the internal tube, jetskis required quite powerful engines – a larger jetski will often have an engine of a similar size to one in a small car – around 1.5l capacity.

Technically speaking, the term ‘Jetski’ is in fact owned by the Kawasaki brand and only (legally) describes their bits of kit, however, much like the word ‘hoover’ the term has become a generic term for all ‘personal water craft’ (or PWC’s).

As you’d expect for such a water-loving nation, Australia has more than its fair share of jetskis – in Queensland alone there are over 20,000 jetskis registered, with registrations increasing all the time. Around three quarters of these are based in South East Queensland.

Which jetski will be the best choice for you will depend on what you’re planning to use it for*. If it’s just for yourself and for having some fun on the water, a solo stand-up jetski may be the best option, although sit down solo jetskis are also available, they are a bit bigger and more expensive. If you’re looking for something that can accommodate more than one person, there are models that can take up to four people.

Much like surfboards, some jetskis are really only for experienced riders – the shorter and narrower models are much faster and more manoeuvrable, but not the best to learn on. It’s best to start out with a more stable jetski design, which in practice means a wider and slower, less manoeuvrable model.

Although jetskis are mostly associated with recreational activity, they are also used for an array of other water-based activities – they are increasingly used by the surf lifesavers as rescue craft, and are used for water-based law enforcement around the world, and the US Navy actually uses them as remote controlled surface targets.

In the seaside town of Bournemouth in the UK they are even used by food delivery service Deliveroo to deliver food to customers on the beach. It’s a lot quicker than driving, apparently.

*also bear in mind that, in Australia, you will need to have a valid marine licence to operate a jetski, if it has an engine with more than 4.5kW of power (pretty much all jetskis have more powerful engines than this)