The most important British EV maker you've never heard of

With its T-shaped nose, the G2 is the more striking Goupil. It’s actually so shaped because the battery sits inside it, whereas in the slightly more conventional-looking G4, it’s slung under the chassis.

Both vehicles are front-wheel drive. With a steel ladder frame, alloy business ends and lots of tough plastic, they are hardy workhorses. Comfortable and fun to drive, too. Quiet, torquey, easy to maintain… Electric power really is the future for industrial vehicles like these.

BMW certainly seems to agree: the company has one of these on standby with a water tender body inside its Mini plant in Oxford.

And then there are the Club Car golf and event buggies that Bradshaw imports from Georgia. When I visited, just before the season started, hundreds of them – some for rent, some for leasing – were parked in rows out the back.

Bradshaw has Car Club’s south of England concession, and demand for its two-seat golf buggies (prices from £6000 or £26.50 per week on a lease) has never been higher. At the other extreme are the stretched buggies with as many as eight seats. Look out for them at the British Grand Prix, perhaps shuttling Max Verstappen and his team-mates to the trophy cabinet.

With so much focus on the challenges of EV ownership at the moment, it’s good to see one company making EVs work and work hard. As they say, horses for courses. That low-cost, short-range Mazda MX-30, for example, might be all you need…

Driving the Goupil G4

With things such as conventional key ignition and a handbrake, the Groupie G4 is designed to be instantly familiar. Twist, release and off you go.

The example I drove, a pick-up, was unladen so weighed just 900kg (versions with the lead-acid battery weigh around 1200kg). As a result, it pulled away cleanly and keenly.

Bradshaw’s yard is far from smith but, surprisingly for an unladen pick-up, the G4 felt comfortable. The steering was accurate and the little vehicle felt like it could turn almost within its own length. Add its positive brakes, quiet-running motor and attractive interior and I imagine a day spent collecting rubbish might not be half bad.

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