The Citrëon C1 Ev’ie is the first ‘real’ electric car to hit the streets of England. The G-Wiz doesn’t count as it’s just a glorified electric wheelchair. Despite this huge jump towards a greener Great Britain, the streets are not charged with excitement. The government promised up to £5,000 grants to subsidise each car, but won’t give it until 2011. So how much will it cost you to evade those last minute purchase-tempting queues of the petrol station?
The C1 cost £16,850, double that of its petrol counter-part. It’s not this that will stop the electric revolution though, with a full charge costing only 90p. It’s not a government conspiracy with the petrol companies either (well, maybe a little). The problem is still the technology. This Citrëon is a testament to the baguette gobbling pond dwellers of the French engineering world, but it will still only give you 70 miles. That’s fine for getting about the city (where public transport is rife anyway), even the 60mph limit is fine, but that won’t get you much further than one local trip and back. People aren’t going to spunk the big bucks on a car that won’t let them take a business trip even to somewhere rubbish like Croydon. The key is business drivers - electric car manufacturers need businesses to want electric cars as they are the only people who buy new cars these days.
Wait, you don't have to take off your futuristic tin-foil all-in-one just yet. There is still an electron expending ace in the ozone shaped hole. It’s called the Tesla Roadster and is being developed by the Yanks. At last the Americans will be preventing carbon emissions. They currently account for 5% of the world’s population and produce a quarter of global emissions of carbon dioxide. The Roadster will make all that forgiven.
The Tesla Roadster has dealt with the distance problem giving a huge 250 miles per charge. If that wasn’t attractive enough it also has an electronically limited top speed of 135mph and a face stretching 0-60mph time of under 3.7 seconds. That stands it in good stead against even the best supercars (it can beat a Porsche 911 easy). The engine is the size of a melon and quieter than Anne Frank. Sadly, the problems are many, £90,000 to be exact. A cheaper estate version called Model S is also in production, giving hope for the rest of us at a more realistic £30,000.
Only one problem still stands between humanity and the all electric life. The engines are silent. A street of kids playing footy don’t stand a chance. The planet may get cleaner but there won’t be many humans left to enjoy it.