Five excellent electric vehicles

02:04, Jun 03 2014

We're not counting range extenders or plug-in hybrids here, just pure electric cars and we found that only the Mitsubishi, Nissan and BMW are likely to be made available here.

All these cars get a $10,000 to $15,000 subsidy depending on where you live and drive.

BMW i3

There is to be a range-extender version, but the pure electric i3 is a remarkably effective drive, with punchy real car acceleration and equipment and a range of up to 160km. Using the US EPA efficiency rating, this slick, beautifully designed four-seater car is scored at 120 MPGe.

GM Spark


The petrol version of the Spark is available as a Holden, but you won't want it if you drive the EV which can run for 147km and costs in the US, about half the BMW's sticker. This still means it's twice the price of the petrol Spark. Quick and fun to handle the Spark EV rates at 119MPGe.

Tesla S

Capable of getting to 100kmh in 5.6 seconds and with a top speed over 200kmh, the Tesla is regarded as the EV equivalent of a BMW 5-series, or Audi A6 and in the US it costs as much, but it sells very well and if the luxury 5-seater ever gets to New Zealand it'll be rated at 89MPGe.

Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf is well established in Japan, Europe and the US and we're told that a special effort is to be made for it to get a following in New Zealand too, without those countries' subsidies. It'll go 125km on a charge and run up to 150kmh, while seating five and returning 115MPGe.

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Originally designed to be powered by a rear-mounted three-cylinder petrol engine, the i-MiEV took to underfloor batteries and electric power as if it was actually created for it. A bit tight even for four, but it provides tonnes of fun, gets 100km from a charge and earns a rating of 112MPGe.