Phoenix SUT Test Drive
Phoenix SUT Test Drive
By Noel Adams
Sunday December 2, 2007
The Phoenix Motor Cars SUT was one of the most popular cars in the EVS 23 ride and drive on December 2, 2007 so the wait in line was quite long. Finally I was second in line and Bryon Bliss, who was conducting the test drives, suggested that I get in the rear passenger seat and take a ride around then switch and drive on the next circuit.
The passenger rear passenger seats in most trucks are pretty uncomfortable but the SUT is more of an SUV than a truck so there was plenty of room in the back, especially for a short person like me. The ride was also reasonably comfortable, about what you would expect from a truck based SUV.
Finally it was my turn to drive. I slid in behind the driverís wheel and Bryon handed me the keys. I Insert the key into the ignition, turned it all the way to the right then released it. The car took a few seconds to boot up, though it was quicker than my Prius takes to get to ready mode.
I put the car into forward, released the parking brake and gently pressed the accelerator. The car moved forward noiselessly as I eased it out onto the test route.
The car accelerated well though it didnít have the neck snapping action that you see in some Electric Vehicles. I was up to speed quite quickly and the car handled very well. The power assisted steering was firm and responsive. When I removed my foot from the accelerator as I approached the first corner the regen braking kicked in. Regen braking on the phoenix is quite harsh though not as harsh as the ACP eBox with regen turned all the way up.
Bryon told me that the version scheduled to be delivered to fleets starting next quarter would have the same regen but the consumer version, currently projected for 2009, would have adjustable regen. The consumer version will also have several options such as leather seats that wonít be available on the early fleet cars.
Turning back towards the Anaheim Convention Center I came up to a stop sign. Backing of the accelerator was enough to slow me down and it needed just a touch on the brake to bring the car to a complete stop.
From the drivers seat the ride was quite comfortable and it didnít really feel like I was driving a big truck. I also found the car very quiet. Even at speed I didnít really notice the whine that usually accompanies electric vehicles. Road noise was also pretty low although we did have the windows open so other traffic may have been masking this somewhat. The only really noticeable noise was a low pitch whine from the regen braking.
All too soon we were back at the ride and drive and it was time to let someone else drive this car. If Phoenix can really deliver this SUT at a cost in the range of $45,000 they should have a real winner on their hands.