Linda Pilkington is the Owner & Perfumer of Ormonde Jayne Perfumery in Mayfair and bought her G-Wiz in 2005. During her 14 years ownership, she has saved an impressive and conservative £100,000 in fuel and road tax alone.
Linda drives and parks in Mayfair where she pays £1.80 for 4 hours. If she drove a petrol or diesel car she’d pay a whopping £31.10 for the same period. Yes, electric cars make compelling financial sense in this situation.
On behalf of our savvy Club members we wanted to know more.
When did you first hear about electric cars?
14 years ago, my husband was reading an article in the Sunday Times previewing the new G Wiz, a small car, made in India from plastic. We both agreed it looked like something Noddy might drive. My husband said it would be perfect for me as Westminster City Council were planning for electric vehicle owners to be exempt from congestion charges and to give them free parking.
What mode of transport were you using then?
At the time, I was either walking to work or taking the Tube depending on the weather and how much time I had. I had a car at the time but she was 19 years old and on her last legs so I hardly used her.
When I first opened our boutique in Old Bond Street, I would drive to the studio where we make our candles & perfumes, pick up the stock, then drive it to Old Bond Street, drop all the stock off at the boutique, drive home again, and then catch the Tube in.
Clearly this was completely impractical and time consuming but it was a way to save money rather than use parking meters at Old Bond Street all day.
How did you choose your G-Wiz?
This was an easy choice based on practicality and economy. Yes there was a choice of colours, but it’s not the sort of car you want to flaunt or put extras on, so I opted for the plain black.
How did you adapt to driving your electric car around London in the beginning?
The fun thing about the G Wiz company at the time was that that they didn’t own showrooms, so if you wanted to buy one, a G Wiz sales rep would arrange to meet you in town and bring the car to you for your test drive.
In my case, a kind gentleman arranged to meet me not far from Park Lane. And after I had driven 5 minutes around Baker St & St Johns Wood, he thought it would be a great idea if I could tackle Hyde Park Corner.
Driving down Park Lane and then around Hyde Park Corner frightened the living daylights out of me, because when you put your foot down on the accelerator, the surge of power is delayed. So, trying to negotiate four traffic lanes plus the horror of Hyde Park Corner, I did have a few people shaking their fists at me.
However, I got through it, and I thought that if could tackle Hyde Park Corner then we had passed the initiation by fire! I then bought ‘Lucy’ as she is called and she’s been part of the family and business for 14 years now.
How easy is it to switch between your petrol family car & your electric car?
It’s not that easy, because our family car is a saloon and it’s a lot longer. However, without wishing to blow my own trumpet, I just happen to be an expert parker so I can park any size of vehicle. I can squeeze into spots nobody else would dare, having been taught how to park in Germany where it’s a matter of national pride.
How have you used it for your company Ormonde Jayne in the past 14 years
Lucy has been an absolute treasure. After I dropped off my children at school, I would drive down to my lab in Camden to pick up supplies, then drive to Bond Street where I could park all day for less than £4. On the way home I picked up groceries and then plugged her in at night. The electricity cost about 50p. You couldn’t wish for a less stressful or easier commute in London or any city.
Parking an electric vehicle (EV) was entirely free anywhere in London until 2 years ago – it now costs £1.80 for four hours which is cheaper than a cup of coffee.
NB: In 2020 EVs are exempt from the Congestion Charge until December 2025 and a recent consultation proposes replacing the Ultra Low Emission Discount with a new phased Cleaner Vehicle Discount (CVD) designed to “incentivise only the cleanest vehicles to drive in central London”.
Could you estimate how much you have spent on repairs over the 14 years?
Of course I’ve had to make allowances for servicing and repairing Lucy. I have a service contract for her that costs £600 a year – there were a couple of years where I didn’t bother servicing her because she has been problem-free.
However I have changed all six batteries twice over the 14 years which cost £1700 each time. Averaged out over this period I’d say I’ve spent something like £750 a year on repairs.
How easy is it to charge your car around London?
When I bought the car in 2005, electric charging spots around London were very rare. I think there were around 30. Lucy needs feeding once a day, and I usually charge her at night time. It’s very low maintenance with a normal plug, takes about 4 hours and costs around 50p.
I have only run out of juice once when I pushed Lucy to the nearest house with a light on. To my amazement Sharleen Spiteri, the lead singer from Texas, opened the door and was extremely kind. She let me revive Lucy & gave me a cup of tea whilst I waited.
Is this a farewell review of Lucy?
Sadly all good things have to come to an end. I was pregnant with my first child when I bought Lucy, but now we have two strapping sons who are taller than me, and they have to bend their heads sideways to fit in. So I’m mid-changing my car because my husband has bought me an electric Mini, in racing green with go faster stripes.
Thank you Linda. This certainly spells out the huge benefits of driving an electric car in London. We look forward to reading your MINI review in due course and wish you continued success in your international Ormonde Jayne Perfumery business.
For More Information
About Ormonde Jayne Perfumery
About G-Wiz electric cars for sale
G Wiz performance: Top speed of around 42mph; 600mpg equivalent
G Wiz CO2: Zero