The electric cars that are changing how we see alternative fuel
Electric cars have come a very long way in the last five years. The UK's infrastructure, for example, has grown from just a few hundred chargers in 2011 to 11,750 in October 2016. (Statistics via Next Green Car.)
In the USA, electric vehicle (EV) sales grew 36 per cent from 2015 to 2016 and in China that figure was 85 per cent.
With infrastructure improving and electric vehicles becoming more desirable with longer ranges, interest is picking up. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is how EVs are perceived. We look at the Nissan Leaf or Renault Zoe and see a dull car that has a mileage range about half of what you'd get from an economic diesel car. In order to get decent miles you have to drive slowly and economically, there's nothing aspirational about that.
Tesla has been doing a fantastic job to change how we see electric cars. The Tesla models are beautiful, sleek and punchy. The P100D Model S makes the most of that instant electric torque and offers a Ludicrous mode which is, well... ludicrous. It'll do 0-60 in 2.5 seconds.
The Model S is an expensive car but Tesla is working to bring a more affordable electric car to market. The Model 3 will cost $35,000 and still has some impressive stats, such as a 215 mile range, 0-60 in six seconds and the ability to charge it in mere minutes with a Tesla Supercharger.
The fastest EV around the Nurburgring
Chinese company NextEV has launched the NIO EP9. An electric car that pushes the limits of what's possible with an electric motor that produces the equivalent of 1360bhp.
It made its way around the Nurburgring in 07:05.120 and also holds the autonomous and road legal records at the Circuit of the Americas with a 02:40.33 in fully autonomous mode and 2:11:30 with a human behind the wheel.
The Chevrolet Bolt and its impressive range
For a number of years we were limited by EVs with sub-100-mile ranges but as battery technology improves and comes down in price, the more affordable EVs are starting to get more practical. Until recently you'd need as Tesla to get any kind of decent mileage but now the Chevrolet Bolt boasts a range of 238 miles.
This is the kind of advance we need and now all ranges within the more affordable EVs should start to increase.
The 200mph electric hypercar
The Vanda Dendrobium is a fully electric hypercar from Singapore. It was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show and a lot is still not known about it. It's a concept in its early stages but the manufacturer, Vanda Electronics, is waiting for technology to catch up with its vision. This is a glimpse into the future.
The fastest production car ever
While both the Tesla P100D and the NIO EP9 might be quick, there's an even quicker EV out there. The new Faraday Future FF 91 is a SUV-style EV with a 0-60 time of 2.39 seconds.
What's most exciting about this car is the rear seats. This might sound boring and perhaps I've reached peak-adult with this paragraph but the seats in the back recline to mimic the position known by NASA scientists as Neutral Body Posture. You body weight is spread evenly over the ventilated massage chair. Imagine this after a long day of road tripping.
It's also full of other cool technologies such as a smart glass roof, which, at a tap, will darken if you've pulled over and need a nap or need to keep out the glare of the sun.
A 400-mile range sports sedan
The Fisker EMotion has been created by Henrik Fisker, the man behind some of the most desirable cars ever made, including the Aston Martin DB9 and V8 Vantage. The car won't be unveiled until mid-2017 but the manufacturers say it'll have an impressive 400-mile range.
Formula E is doing a good job of bringing electric vehicles to the masses but its real contribution, beyond a mere branding exercise, is how it acts as a living laboratory for EV manufacturers. Next EV and Faraday Future are just two EV brands that have teams within Formula E.
The sport is a great place to test new powertrains, work on range, increase speed and more.
We're still a little way off quick, affordable EVs with a range to rival an internal combustion engine car but the technology is improving every day. As public perception continues to shift, more cars will be sold, infrastructure will improve further and we'll be closer to a ludicrous EV for everyone.