viable alternative with the electric car. Major automobile manufacturers are now producing electric vehicles that are both aesthetic to the person's eye while at the same time offers the performance and handling that today's automobile driver requires.
Low cost maintenance
Since there is no need to purchase petrol the cost of operating the vehicle is kept at the minimum. The only real maintenance cost associated with the vehicle is the replacement of the battery which occurs every 4-5 years depending on the usage of the vehicle and number of chargers that it receives.
Electric motors - any good?
An important benefit of these electric vehicles is the performance. The electric motor is able to produce more torque at a faster rate than petroleum fuelled engine. This means a person can accelerate faster which is idea for the start and stop driving found in major cities. While these vehicles do have great range they would be unsuitable for excursions to remote areas where there is no viable access to a source of electricity to recharge the batteries.
With previous models a person would have to wait a considerable amount of time for their batteries to fully charge before heading out. This is no longer the case with the new lithium ion battery technology that enables faster charging and longer life of the battery cells.
Top electric cars:
1. Vauxhall Ampera - This car has two engines for electric and petrol driving. Its performance tops all charts for electric cars. You can drive 25 to 50 miles on electric only and 310 miles on fuel. The Ampera is a real green car as for the seats and plastic bits in the car only recycled materials are used. It has liquid cooled battery that extends the life of the battery and heats up when the weather is cold to improve performance. The prices for Vauxhall Ampera start at £29,995.
2. Nissan Leaf - It has 100 miles driving range and it drops down to about 60 miles in freezing conditions and 70 miles in hot weather. These are just rough guidelines, it all depends on the way you drive the Nissan Leaf. It takes 8 hours to recharge in full at home or if you use a power charging dock - just 30 minutes. There is no petrol engine and it's all electric throughout. It costs £28,350 - starting price.
3. Ford Focus Electric - This car has 100 miles range on a single charge as the Nissan Leaf does. It powers up quicker at just 3 hours. It is slightly more expensive than the Nissan Leaf on the US market but the pricing for the European market is still to be announced. Watch out for the news in the late months of 2012.
4. Coda - this is another electric car that is expected to come out in the end of 2012. It has a driving range of 88 miles which less than the previous two electric cars but given the quick charging time - that's not a big issue. The battery is a new generation type - 6.6 kW and it only takes 4 hours for full recharge at home. The price is to be announced yet for the UK market.
5. Mercedes Benz SLS AMG E-Cell - This is not the first sports electric car but it earns a top place for the style and comfort reserved for all Mercedes cars. It comes out in 2013 so better start saving now if you want to enjoy the sports and green experience it offers. It boasts with two electric motors and it accelerates to 60 mph in 4 seconds.
6. Honda Fit Electric - This is an all electric car. It goes 123 miles in the city and 76 miles for combined driving. It takes only 3 hours to recharge in full at a regular socket at home. It comes out in 2013. It will probably be around £20,000 starting price but this is yet to be confirmed.
7. Aptera 2e - the unusual look of this car makes it look like the car from the future we all expected to see on the road one day. It has just 3 wheels and can accelerate to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds. The Aptera boasts with a top speed of 85 mph. The price varies between £20,000 and £30,000.
8. Volvo C30 Electric - This car is intended for city driving mainly with a range of 100 miles. It will have the same sporty look of the fuel C30 version but with an electric engine. The prices start from £25,000.
9. Wheego LiFe - this is the first two-seater car in this list. It goes up to 100 miles in one charge. And it takes 5 hours to recharge it in full. This is one of the cheapest electric cars with asking price at £20,000.
10. Tesla Roadster 2.5 - Before Mercedes, Tesla presented the first fully electric sports car. It takes just 3.7 second to reach 60 MPH. The battery is much larger than on the regular electric cars allowing it to reach 300 miles driving range. The asking price starts at £100,000.
Of course let's not forget that most of these cars are covered by the government grant scheme which allows you £5,000 off on the price asked by the dealer.