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One2Ten: Electric vehicles

This year will see all-electric vehicles hitting the headlines with the launch of high-profile models such as the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric. E&T offers its top ten electric contenders.

1 Ford Focus Electric

An all-electric version of this popular vehicle was always going to be a favourite with the punters. Future owners of the Focus Electric will have to prepare to recharge the car's Ford-engineered 28kWh lithium-ion battery pack at home on a daily basis. A full recharge will take three to four hours using a wall-mounted 240V charge station. With a top-speed of 84mph, it uses a special version of MyFord Touch driver connect technology to give real-time data on its performance.

  • Price: TBA.
  • Availability:Focus Electric will be launched in late 2011, and will be available in North America and Europe by 2013.
  • Charging time: Between three and four hours with 240V station.
  • Battery type: 28kWh lithium-ion battery.

2 Mini-E 

The iconic Mini E is on the road in the south east of the UK on a limited 40-car trial. The manufacturer claims a top speed of 95mph and a range of 155 miles in laboratory conditions, which is likely to equate to between 100 and 120 miles in everyday driving. Recharging is estimated to take 4.5 hours, which is less than half the time some of its rivals take.

  • Price: TBA.
  • Availability: The Mini-E is a prototype test vehicle which is being trialled by drivers in the US, UK and Germany. The Mini-E in its current format will not go into production.
  • Charging time: Using 32A charging, approximately four hours. 13A charging requires 10 hours to fully charge the vehicle's battery.
  • Battery type: High-performance rechargeable lithium-ion battery which is installed in the rear of the car in place of the back seats.

3 Nissan Leaf 

No slouch, this car has a top speed of 90mph, and Nissan claims a range of 110 miles, although, as always, that is likely to be less in normal conditions. On'board is a lithium-ion battery, which takes almost eight hours to charge from a standard electrical outlet. The good news is that Nissan says that the car will come with a connection for 400W dc fast-charge outlets that will allow users to charge the battery to 80 per cent in under half an hour.

  • Price: £23,990 after the £5,000 government incentive.
  • Availability: Order now with deliveries starting from March 2011.
  • Charging time: 0-100 per cent using home charging in eight hours. 0-80 per cent using a rapid charge in 30 minutes.
  • Battery type: Lithium-ion

4 Tesla roadster

This is the car that breaks the mould for green transportation and pleases even the most ardent petrol head. It has a top speed of 125mph, but most impressive is its acceleration of 0 to 62mph in just 3.7 seconds. It comes complete with a'huge battery pack that comprises 6,800 individual cells that give it an impressive range of 236 miles. The drawback is that it takes six hours to charge and of course the hefty price tag.

  • Price: £87,945 (including VAT) with £10,000 deposit.
  • Availability: Now, with 1,500 having already been delivered worldwide.
  • Charging time: Six hours.
  • Battery type: Lithium-ion.

5 Smart fortwo ED 

There can be no car that better epitomises environmentally aware driving than the Smart Car, and this electric version continues in the same vein. Not the best range at 68mph, but a decent top speed of 75mph. Its lithium-ion batteries will take eight hours to charge.

  • Price: £375/month for lease to companies.
  • Availability: Mass production scheduled for 2012.
  • Charging time: Eight hours.
  • Battery type: Lithium-ion.

6 Mitsubishi iMiEV 

It would be best to describe the figures for the iMiEV as ordinary. The on-board lithium-ion batteries allow 80 miles of driving on each charge with a top speed at a fraction over 80mph. It can be recharged from a household socket in six hours.

  • Price: £28,990.
  • Availability: Scheduled to be available in'the UK January 2011.
  • Charging time: Six hours.
  • Battery type: Lithium-ion.

7 Reva G-Wiz 

Another city car with a limited top speed of 51mph and a range of 70 miles before its lithium-ion battery needs plugging in for eight hours. It is described as nippy and fun to drive, but in truth is the sort of car that you either love or hate. It bears all the trademarks of a squashed down Fiat 500 – so your opinion could well depend on your thoughts of that controversial car.

  • Price: Around £14,000.
  • Availability: The G-Wiz i is available now. The original Reva G-Wiz went on sale in London in 2004.
  • Charging time: Eight hours for a full recharge and 2.5 hours for 80 per cent.
  • Battery type: Lead acid (there is also a lithium ion G-Wiz with a range of up to 70 miles).
  • Connectors: A comms port to connect to the EMS and a charge port for recharging.

8 Citroen C-Zero 

Like most cars from this French manufacturer the performance can best be described as functional. With a range of 93 miles and a top speed of 60mph it will serve adequately for urban driving, but there is little about this car to move it high up consumers' wish lists. Again the car is powered by a lithium-ion battery that will recharge fully in six hours.

  • Price: The car will be available on a four-year/40,000 mile lease at a monthly rental cost of £415 + VAT (inclusive of warranty, maintenance and servicing).
  • Availability: On sale in January 2011, with first deliveries by April 2011.
  • Charging time: Between six and seven hours on a normal 13A plug. Quick charge takes 30 minutes and gives 80 per cent charge.
  • Battery type: High-capacity lithium-ion batteries.
  • Connectors: 13A plug.

9 Peugeot ION

The Ion is a compact four-door car that has a smart European feel to its interior. With its focus on urban commuting the lithium battery powered car has a range of 80 miles with top speed of around 81mph. The battery can be fully charged in six hours from a standard 220V plug, or 80 per cent charged in 30 minutes using its rapid recharge system.

  • Price: £415+ (excluding VAT) per month 'all-inclusive' mobility package.
  • Availability: Now available to order.
  • Charging time: Six hours for 100 per cent. 30 minutes for rapid recharge to 80 per cent.
  • Battery type: Lithium-ion.

10 Renault Fluence ZE

This mid-size sedan has three options for charging. It is capable of being recharged in six to eight hours through a standard 230V outlet and has a fast-charging capability that enables the vehicle to charge to 80 per cent of its capacity in just 30 minutes. Lastly, the QuickDrop battery switch system will enable the Renault Fluence ZE's battery to be swapped in approximately three minutes at bespoke battery-exchange stations.

  • Price: £21,300 - £26,000.
  • Availability: Orders open in Europe mid-September 2011.
  • Charging time: Six to eight hours to 100 per cent. 30 minutes to 80 per cent.
  • Battery type: Lithium-ion.

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