As the electric car industry continues to develop, we are now seeing extended journey capacity and improved mpge (miles per gallon equivalent), while zero tail emissions are now more commonplace, writes Mark Benson. With that in mind, here are the top five electric cars to watch throughout the year, giving you a mixture of cutting-edge technology, mass-market appeal, and comfort.
Nissan Leaf 2013
Price: from £23,490 / $28,800
Japanese car giant Nissan has certainly taken the market by storm with the award-winning Nissan Leaf 2013. The vehicle has a 140 miles (225 km) journey capacity, fuel efficiency of 130 mpge (209 km) and can be fully charged within four hours. This car is leading the way in the electric car mass-market and the 2013 edition contains an array of technological advances.
Price: from £35,355 / $39,145
There is no doubt that General Motors has caught the attention of electric car enthusiasts with the Chevrolet Volt. The vehicle has a journey capacity of 38 miles (61 km) using electric power which is extended to 380 miles (611 km) using the gasoline powered journey extender. The batteries can be fully charged within four hours although it is the 98 mpge (157 km) which places this vehicle in the higher echelons of the electric car industry.
Tesla Model S
Price: from $62,400 / to be announced
Tesla Motors has led the way in electric sports cars and the Tesla Model S is the latest addition to this portfolio. It has a hybrid journey capacity of 300 miles (482 km) and a 95 mpge (153 km) using the mid-range 60 kW version as an example. Tesla has introduced a number of ‘superchargers’ that will see the batteries charged up to 50 per cent capacity within just 30 minutes.
BMW i3 Electric
Price: approximately £35,000 / $52,000 (unconfirmed)
Travel in comfort, style and do your bit to save the environment with the new BMW i3 electric vehicle. This car, to come out in late 2013, has a journey capacity of 100 miles (160 km), a basic 50 mpge (80 km) that improves to 100 mpge (160 km) with the range extender. The BMW i3 electric takes just 30 minutes to charge up to 80 per cent battery capacity and many applications can be controlled remotely using a mobile phone app.
Price: approximately $102,000 / £75,000 (unconfirmed)
The Fisker Karma is a luxury electric sports car with a hybrid journey extender. Using electric power, it has a 52 mpge (84 km) and offers a fully electric journey capacity of 32 miles (51 km), which is extended to 300 miles (482 km) using the gasoline engine journey extender. The batteries for this vehicle take between six hours and 14 hours to fully charge.
The five models mentioned are just a selection of the many award-winning electric cars set to take the 2013 market by storm. They are almost unrecognisable from their counterparts less than a decade ago with journey capacity and mpge all rising significantly. It will be interesting to see whether the development of electric vehicles continues to gather momentum in the short- to medium term and whether this translates into increased sales.
– Mark Benson is a writer for the electricforum.com where all aspects of electric-powered vehicles can be discussed in great detail. For more information on electric vehicles please visit electricforum.com where you can discuss your questions and queries with the 5,400-strong community.
Photos: Renault/Nissan, ‘BMW AG, München, Deutschland’, Tesla Motors Inc., General Motors, Fisker Automotive.