We're at the end of day two, and things are looking slightly better. Resigned to finishing the Silvretta Classic E-Rally in dead last after a disastrous Thursday, any pressure there was has been lifted off our shoulders - and, wouldn't you know it, we've enjoyed a few decent results.
In the day's four scheduled regularity tests we finished 10th, 12th, 13th and 23rd of 28 - our best individual time within 0.16sec of the target over 100 metres. We're still last, mind - but a smidgeon of pride has been restored.
We'll get the most interesting results in the morning - those of the rally's efficiency challenge. It will be measured over today's full 113km test distance. We started the day with a full tank of petrol and a full battery, and after climbing and descending Alpine backroads as well as negotiating local villages and trunk routes, we finished with 9km of charge left, and having used just under two litres of unleaded. It may not be good enough for a class win - that'll probably go to the Smart Fortwo ED, Citroen's C-Zero or maybe one of Mercedes' hydrogen-powered F-Cell cars - but I still call it an impressive showing by the 'range extended' Ampera.
The day's been illuminating not least to witness how seriously a certain German car-maker is taking all of this. There are at least four VW Golf Blue-e-motion prototypes entered in the E-Rally, two of which are being driven by professional regularity pilots. On the second 'special stage' of the day (where we finished 12th, within 0.26sec of target) those two Golfs got a perfect score. After 150 metres they both crossed the line in exactly twelve seconds; didn't even drop or gain a solitary hundredth. Staggering.
Drivers that good deserve the glory. And I suppose the fact that they're here at all is all part of VW's grand plan to convince the Western European public about the validity of their particular electric car. There are plenty of public here: mostly tourists visiting who've come to Austria for other reasons, but they're here alright.
Whispers abound that VW will launch its electric Golf into production next year, and already has the German government promising big market incentives for electric cars, timed to coincide. And once the EV has the might of Europe's biggest car-maker behind it, as well as Renault, Nissan, GM and all the rest - well, who'd bet against it then?