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The Scilly but brilliant electric car

"IT COULD be the most exciting rental I've never driven. Cornwall, it seems, has cracked the electric car.

I think it's because it's so unbelievably far away that England's most southerly county offers you ways of getting about which border on the weird and wonderful. Sure, you get plenty of the clichéd Volkswagen campervans beloved of the surfing set, but the car of choice for the locals seems to be the Peugeot 205 diesel, which are thrashed to within an inch of their lives tackling BMWs and Audis along the twistier bits of the A30.

You can also - if you're a tourist - take to getting around the county by helicopter, or do what I did and see how long you can withstand seasickness on the Isles of Scilly ferry. It's nicknamed The Great White Stomach Pump, and I now know why.

But what I'm kicking myself for not trying are the hire cars on St Mary's on the Isles of Scilly, because they're not really cars in the conventional sense at all. It's Scilly but it's true; the Isles' equivalent to an Astra from Avis is an electrically-powered golf cart.

Run by enterprising brothers Willie and Michael Pritchard from the village of Porthmellon, The Scilly Cart Company gives anyone on the island the chance to rent out golf carts in a variety of different sizes - and all left hand drive, incidentally - which have escaped the golf courses of North Wales and been modified to make them road legal. On the island of St Mary's, a place with just nine miles of roads, they're everywhere.

I really, really wanted a go. They made the entire island feel like a bizarre cross with a Bond baddie's lair and an episode of The Prisoner, and - because you're never more than a couple of miles outside of town - it's unlikely you're ever going to run out of juice either. By being a little bit bonkers the Isles of Scilly has the first place in the world where an electric car makes complete sense. It's just a shame I had to get back on the ferry before I got a chance to try one.

It's got to be the most hilarious £30 I regret not spending."

Posted by David Simister

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