What'll it cost

* Beginning of end for petrol and diesel? * Vauxhall's electric car on sale by 2012 * Range of 310 miles and 176mpg...

What'll it cost

There are no two ways about it: electric cars will be expensive because of the battery technology they rely on.

A car like the Ampera will need at least 10,000 worth of batteries. Add the normal cost of a mid-sized hatchback say 15,000 and it all starts to mount up. One battery company we spoke to, Valence, likens it to buying a petrol or diesel car and having to pay for eight years' worth of fuel up front.

Electric car manufacturers are going to have to be creative at marketing, then, and there are already various solutions being put forward.

The most likely is some sort of leasing arrangement. Either you'll lease the whole car, or buy the car and lease the batteries for a monthly fee that's less than you would have spent on petrol or diesel.

Renault is even proposing robot-operated pull-in points where spent battery packs can be quickly swapped for fully-charged ones, extending the range of the cars it is working on.

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