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Best electric cars on sale though not in India

Last updated on: March 29, 2013 13:10 IST
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BSM Team in Mumbai


While we're not exactly spoiled for choice in the electric car segment here, internationally, there are plenty of good options to reduce your dependence on the golden stuff.

Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf goes down in history books as the most successful electric car ever, with 50,000 units sold worldwide.

The one thing that set the Leaf apart from all the other all-electric cars out there is its ability to cruise comfortably out on the open highway.

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Image: Nissan Leaf.
Photographs: Courtesy, Nissan
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It comes with a 110 bhp electric motor under the hood powered by 24 kWh battery pack.

It's got a range of 121 km, which may not sound like much, but, using the built-in telematics system, you can look for the nearest charging station and charge the Leaf back up to 80 per cent of its battery capacity within half an hour using fast charging DC current outlets.

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Image: Interior of Nissan Leaf.
Photographs: Courtesy, Nissan
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The Leaf is available in the US, Japan and Europe for around Rs 20 lakh (Rs 2 million), excluding duties. Considering it's about the size of a Nissan Sunny, it's not exactly cheap.

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Image: Nissan Leaf.
Photographs: Courtesy, Nissan
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Tesla Model S

Okay, so we've got electric cars that can keep up on the highway, but what about when you're in the need for some driving joy? Enter Tesla.

For its first product, Tesla has taken a Lotus Elise, dumped the Toyota powertrain and plonked in an electric one to give us one of the first all-electric sports cars, the Tesla Roadster.

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Image: Tesla Model S.
Photographs: Courtesy, Tesla
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But with two seats and limited luggage capacity, it was purely an indulgence more than anything else. Now though, it's hoping to include the whole family in on the fun.

The new Model S is a seven-seater all-electric sedan which hopes to continue the legacy created by the roadster.

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Image: Tesla Model S.
Photographs: Courtesy, Tesla Motors
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Like the Leaf, Tesla also offers a series of quick chargers in case you run out of charge mid-way through a trip. And if you thought the Leaf was on the pricey side of things, wait till you hear what the Model S costs.

Prices for the base model start at Rs 33 lakh (Rs 3.3 million), excluding duties, going up to Rs 44 lakh (Rs 4.4 million) for the extended battery models.

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Image: Interior of Tesla Model S.
Photographs: Courtesy, Tesla Motors
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Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive

If you thought you'd never see the words AMG and Electric in the same sentence, then brace yourself, the SLS AMG Electric Drive is here.

Powered by four motors connected to the individual wheels, this SLS performs well enough to keep that AMG badge.

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Image: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive.
Photographs: Courtesy, Mercedes-Benz
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With over 740 bhp on tap, you can go from 0-100 kmph in under 4 seconds. How's that for performance, eh?

Rs 2.9 crore (Rs 290 billion), excluding duties, could put you in the driver's seat of one of these.

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Image: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive.
Photographs: Courtesy, Mercedes-Benz
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Renault Fluence, Zoe and Twizy

Okay, so there are plenty of very expensive electric cars out there, but what about affordable ones for the masses? Renault has just the ticket for that.

With its new ZE range of all-electric cars, it hopes to bring electric cars within reach of the masses.

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Image: Renault Twizy.
Photographs: Courtesy, Renault
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First up is the Fluence ZE, which comes with a range of 185 km. You can afford to take a few longer trips in this, but we haven't even got to the best part yet.

Out of charge? Just pull up to one of the many battery swap stations, drop off your battery, put in a fully charged one and be off on your way again.

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Image: Renault Zoe.
Photographs: Courtesy, Renault
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Externally, it looks pretty similar to the normal Fluence, in fact, Renault has even programmed the transmission to creep forward in D mode to emulate a normal car.

And depending on the kind of features you need, there are the Zoe and Twizy city cars.

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Image: Renault Fluence Z.E.
Photographs: Courtesy, Renault
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The Zoe comes with features like proper doors and seating for four, while the Twizy has to make do with flip-up doors and tandem seating for two.

If you've got a commute through congested parts of the city, the Twizy makes brilliant sense.


Image: Renault Twizy.
Photographs: Courtesy, Renault
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