Are electric cars the answer? - Introduction

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  • We test four
  • Driving impressions
  • Financial realities
Electric cars might be in the news at the moment but they’re nothing new.

A hundred years ago you could buy a Detroit Electric that would hit 20mph and had a range of 80 miles. The current crop will go a bit faster, but many will run out of juice in half the distance.

So why have things hardly moved on? Well, it was all down to cost. Electric motors and batteries cost more to make than internal combustion engines. In the early 20th century oil was plentiful, so battery power was largely forgotten about.

As a result, some of the technology used in today’s cars isn’t a whole lot different to what was around a century ago.

Electric cars are back in fashion, though. They’re much greener and cheaper to run than petrols or diesels – especially with fuel prices going through the roof – and new battery technologies mean some can go a bit farther and faster. Are they good enough for the masses though?

We tested four to find out. They were:

• Micro-Vott Doblo Electric £33,000

• Smart Fourtwo ed £20,000

• Reva G-Wiz £9273

• Nice Mega City £11,848

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