Electric Cars for 2011 – Daily Ten
They are calling 2011 the year of the electric car. Who ‘they’ are I’m not sure, but thats the word on the street. Electric cars are nothing new, but there are a number of car companies, as well as countries and other companies working hard on delivering the kinds of eco systems needed to bring the electric vehicle to the masses.
Today, we salute the ten cars we think are going to do very well over the coming 12 months. The age of the combustion engine may not be over yet, but with fuel prices constantly on the rise, and electric vehicle purchases on the up, its end may be nigh.
The car is dead! Long live the car.
10. NICE Mega City 2 seater
NICE – No Internal Combustion Engine. This is a lovely little car, designed for the city. Unlike some of the smaller, exclusively electric cars (looking at you G-Wiz), this car has a very spacious 800 lt of boot spaceIf you live in London, the NICE benefits from being exempt from the congestion charge. Quite a good thing that you can drive around the city to your hearts content as the NICE’s top speed of only 40mph means you wont be heading to any motorways!
9. Fisker Karma
I know I’m going to get in some bother for putting such a lovely looking car all the way down the list at number 9, but here goes. The Karma is one expensive all electric vehicle. gorgeous, curvaceous in all the right places, but pricey. For your $95,900 (base model), you get 50 miles from a full charge – but with a top speed of 125mph and a 0-60 time of just 5.9 seconds, I’m sure 50 miles is slightly over estimating its range. Whilst we adore the look of it, its excessive, and we don’t see this as a viable, city car.
8. Wheego LiFe
There is nothing we love more than a clever or silly name. The Wheego LiFe, is both. Wheego makes us think of going to the loo, and the consensus in the HQ is that thats is silly, but then LiFe is a reference to its Lithium batteries, which is smart. The Wheego reminds us what the G-Wiz might look like if it took slightly better care of its appearance. It’s small and compact, ideally suited for urban dwellers, and with a range of 100 miles, packs enough juice to complete many suburban journeys without bother.
Like the G-wiz and the Smart car, the LiFe only has 2 seats, so not one for the family.
7. Nissan Leaf
Now, depeneding on where you get the spelling from, its either the Nissan Leaf, or the Nissan LEAF (standing for Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family car) – we know which name we prefer. The LEAF sets itself high goals, and delivers. The Nissan LEAF takes the coverted title of first major manufacturer produced all-electric car. With no green house gas emission at point of operation, and the might of one of the worlds largest car companies, it has to be said that the LEAF is a serious player in the electric car company. It’s place on the list, outside our top 5 is due to its styling. Whilst it isn’t offensive, not a big fan, and with a range of only 76 miles, it could be more efficient.
6. Think City 4 Seater
Looking like the Wheego’s bigger brother, we have the bug eyed Think City 4 Seater. The City has a stated range of 100 miles, and a top speed of around 70mph, it certainly wont win any grand prix meets, but at least it wouldn’t die on the way to the track. Now we think about it, it probably wouldn’t win a beauty pageant either, but its looks are possibly odd enough to actually make it quite popular, much like a pug. Running off a choice of either a sodium or lithium battery, and with many optional extras available, this is a car perhaps well suited for those who like to personalise.
5. Tesla Roadster
The Tesla Roadster – its an energiser powered lotus, minus the bunny rabbit. There is no doubt that this is one attractive car, but unlike the Karma, it has the range to go with its power and looks. Capable of 0-60 in 3.7 sec and a range of 211 miles on a full charge, its no wonder the car world is in a frenzy over this pocket rocket. Much like the Karma though, we feel its main failing point its sporty leanings. Surely, if they are capable of creating a high powered electric sports vehicle, just imagine what they could do for the hatchback market…
4. Vauxhall Ampera
More commonly known by its American name ‘Volt’, this is an incredibly neat looking motor. Designed to suit the shorter range journeys of a city dweller, the Ampera make sit to number 4 on the list purely for the reason that its shorter range battery packs are designed to handle these shorter trips extremely efficiently. This isn’t however a fully electric car, it has a small petrol powered generator to extend its range to 310 miles. Whilst its important that we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, its fair to say that we as of yet do not have a electric car capable of fully replicating the reliability of a petrol motor. The Ampera is an incredibly well designed car built to fulfil our shorter trips, but capable of reverting to good ol petrol power if the need arises, albeit with an extremely efficient engine. Electric is the future most definitely, this hybrid does a pretty good job as a stop gap until we get there.
3. Smart Electric Drive
For some time now, the Smart car has been a favourite, at least amongst European city folk. For a car that is roughly the size of a 4 slice toaster, it is incredibly roomy. Its well engineered, and designed to fulfil the role of the perfect city car. We have had one in our house in the past, and they are a delight. The Smart Electric Drive makes what in our eyes is already a superb car, better. Smart being the clever clogs that they are have been running tests in London for a number of years, and satisfied they have a car worthy of production have begun limited release, with mass production scheduled for 2012. Smart state that on an average city road traveling at 30mph the Smart Electric Drive has a range of 100 miles, but considering its quicker to walk in London than drive, I’m assuming at lower speeds its economy just gets better and better.
2. Mitsubishi I-MIEV
Another car with ambiguous name, its either the MIEV Mitsubishi In-wheel motor Electric Vehicle or the MiEV Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle. Can’t quite workout who or why it has 2 names, but both are fantastic names and define the car well enough to suit. The MiEV is based on the popular Mitsubishi Colt, and as you’d expect from a Japanese car manufacturer, the MiEV is well designed, well engineered and highly capable machine. What makes this little car stand apart from the rest on this list is its in-wheel motor system. Each wheel has its own motor, run from batteries located in the floor. At this point the sciency stuff takes over, and I get slightly lost, but this is essentially one highly capable car.
1. Renault Zoe
As we reach the number one spot in our Daily Ten, I have to confess that the car that has topped our list isn’t actually available for purchase in 2011! Hopefully you’ll forgive me when you cast your eye over the gorgeous Renault Zoe. The journey to the final production model has been a long one, with many modifications, alterations and differing designs. The Renault Zoe ZE, to give it its full production name is a highly attractive car, with many nice touches that make it stand out from its competitors. From its full length sky light, to the LED headlights, the car screams modern, and with quick charge capabilities (100% charge in a lightening fast 30 mins) and a range of 100 miles, AND with 5 seats, this is a car that not only deserves to be our number 1, but through its fantastic design and must have features, demands so.