Electric cars have been around since the late 19th century, however, have only more recently become popular again due to the rise in fuel costs and the increasing thinning of the ozone layer.
As of December 2010, there are only four electric cars worldwide that have been highway-certified, mass-produced and crash-tested. These include the Tesla Roadster, Th!nk City, Mitsubishi i MiEV, and Nissan Leaf. All four of these vehicles are either currently available or soon-to-be available on the European market.
The Tesla Roadster is a battery electric vehicle (BEV), which is available in Europe. It is a sports car from Tesla Motors and originates from California. It is the first motorway-capable all-electric car available, and can travel 244 miles (393 km) in a single charge. It can also be charged by a special Home Connector. It has won many awards, including the Forbes 2006 ‘New Car that Best Lived Up to the Hype’.
Th!nk City is produced by Think Global and has a top speed of 68 mph (110 km/hr). It is a 2-seater car and can run for 99 miles (160 km) on a full charge. It is currently sold in Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Austria, Switzerland and Finland.
The Mitsubishi i MiEV is a 5-door hatchback by Mitsubishi Motors. MiEV stands for ‘Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle’. It can travel for 93 miles (150 km) on a full charge. This European version will cost around EUR 33,000 toÂ EUR 35,000 depending on the country.
The fourth highway-certified electric car is the Nissan Leaf. ‘Leaf’ is an acronym for ‘Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family car’ and is a 5-door mid-size hatchback, manufactured by Nissan. Its all-electric range is 100 miles (160 km) on a full charge. Nissan has stated that “the Leaf would allow owners to save â