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Automakers Roll Out Latest Electric Car Models

6:21 PM, Jan 23, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Ford calls its Focus Electric the most fuel-efficient compact in America. 

Consumer Reports finds it can get the equivalent of 107 miles per gallon.

The engineers compared it with other all-electric cars, including the smaller sub compact Mitsubishi i-MiEV.

"The i-MiEV is even more fuel-efficient, getting the equivalent of 111 miles per gallon. It's also easy to park, but it's slow and cramped, and it rides stiffly.  In fact, our engineers thought it was more like a glorified golf cart," says car expert Rik Paul.

With any all-electric car, the primary consideration is how far it will go on a charge.  Testers found the i-MiEV's range is around 60 miles.

Paul says, "It takes 21 hours to recharge the i-MiEV on household current, but you can get a 240-volt charger installed in your house that will cut that time down to six hours."

The most luxurious all-electric car so far, the Telsa Model S.  It claims a range of up to 265 miles.  A special charging station can power the battery halfway in just 30 minutes.

"Our initial impression of the Model S is that it's quick, agile, roomy and refined.  But, it's also expensive, starting at $57,000.  And, the top-of-the-line model is closer to $100,000.

Ford's Focus Electric falls somewhere in the middle.  The test model cost $41,000.  It's range is about 80 miles and a full charge takes less than four hours with a 240-volt charger.

Consumer Reports says the Ford Focus Electric performed well in track test, with an impressive ride and handling.  It proved a lot more fun to drive than the Nissan Leaf, the first of the new wave of electric cars. 

Manufacturers are delivering a steady flow of all-electric cars.  Electric versions of the Toyota RAV4 and Smart ForTwo are just out.  And, others are expected soon, including the Chevrolet Spark EV, Honda Fit EV and the Fiat 500e.

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