The most impressive range on a production family EV will undoubtedly be that offered by the Tesla Model S. The second car to be produced by the Palo Alto startup company Tesla will be available from spring 2012 and will have a maximum range of 300 miles.
This range maximum is dependent on buying the biggest available battery pack to go with the Model S. The base level has a battery pack that will give a range of 160 miles and costs $50,000. Each upgrade in battery will add $10,000 to the cost of the car. There’s an intermediate battery pack which will give a range of 230 miles. The battery packs can be charged in 45 minutes, which is drastically quicker than other EV charging times.
The Model S is also great for families, as it can seat five adults in the front two rows and two children in the trunk on fold out seats. There’s also a frunk (front trunk) to transport cargo when the trunk seats are in use.
Another new EV option comes from Honda. The Japanese car manufacturer which has spearheaded hybrid technology over the years is bringing the Fit EV to the US this summer. In looks, it’s almost the same vehicle as the existing Fit, but under the hood has a 92kw electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack instead of a gasoline engine. Honda will produce just over 1000 Fit EVs in this first edition, and will lease them to customers in Oregon and California at a cost of $389 per month, including roadside assistance and maintenance.
In the UK, Renault is introducing two new EVs – the Fluence and the Zoe – this year. To reduce purchase price significantly, Renault is selling the EVs without the battery pack and customers will lease the battery at a cost of about £1000 a year, depending on the amount of driving they do.
The choice of EVs is getting wider, and challenges around range limitation anxiety are being met – it looks likely that 2013 will see the introduction of even more EVs to the world’s roads.