This month sees the launch of the Elettrica, which is a combination of Italian styling and design, Japanese engineering and British electronics, and is the first production electric car in the UK with the option of a lithium power supply, which is claimed to provide almost twice the range of other small electric cars.
The lithium battery version is said to offer a 70 mile range and a top speed of 45 miles per hour. There is also a lead battery version offering a 40 mile range and a top speed of 40mph.
The batteries can be charged for a few minutes or a few hours with no risk of damage. The lithium battery version can be fully charged in 5-6 hours, the lead battery version in 8 hours, and electricity should cost no more than 50p to drive 70 miles.
Drivers will be exempt from the congestion charge, will enjoy free parking in Westminster, the City and many other parts of London, and the Elettrica is also exempt from road tax.
Lithium batteries have a much longer life than lead batteries, are lighter, and do not represent an environmental hazard on disposal. The car has no tailpipe emissions, and should be charged with renewable energy to be truly green.
The car has an aluminium safety cage, disc brakes, front and rear impact bars, and has undergone front and side crash-testing – well beyond the EU requirements for this type of vehicle.
The Elettrica costs £9,950 inc VAT for the lead-battery powered version and £12,750 inc VAT for the lithium powered version. Prices also include registration and delivery to any London address.
The car is available from Future Vehicles, the exclusive distributor for customers based in London and within the M25.