A workshop at the North Pole that can make presents for the worlds children, it must be a monumental logistics nightmare. How do elves move themselves and the presents, round this city sized plant? No elf wants to toil in a workshop full of exhaust fumes, elves need a small, green, zero-emissions car to get round.
Here's 7 electric cars, with the green credentials to keep Santa's staff happy.
BMW's first all electric urban car is larger than it appears. Despite it's ungainly dimensions the i3 is no slouch, 60 comes in a very respectable 7.2 seconds. The rear suicide doors are a slight compromise, while they improve rear access they only open with the front doors. Inside the futuristic cabin won't be to everyone's taste, but does remind you that the i3 is something different. The stated range is between 80 and 100 miles. It takes 7-8 hours to charge on a home plug, 3 hours with BMW's fast charger and half an hour on a public fast charger.
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Mitsubishi I-Mieve is the sister car of Peugeot's iOn and Citroën's C-Zero. It's a great compact city car that's easy to maneuver. Given its price that sparse interior and cheap plastics are let down. The I-Miev charges in 7 hours from a home socket and 30 minutes from a public fast charger. The range is a claimed 80-100 miles which can drop to 50 with enthusiastic driving. 60 mph registers at around 13 seconds and the I-Miev will carry on to 81 mph.
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The Leaf has been a benchmark car for the electric market. It's a practical family hatchback that doesn't attempt to add space age frills to remind you it's an electric vehicle. 60 mph comes in an acceptable 11.1 seconds and around town the electric motor operates with an eerie silence. Charging takes 8 hours from a home wall socket, public fast chargers reduce this to 30 minutes. Range is a claimed 124 miles, but quickly drops off with anything but the gentlest driving.
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The two person Twizy is a quirky city run around. Practical it isn't, doors to shield you from the elements cost extra and still don't even have windows. The 17-Bhp electric motor runs out of steam at 50 mph. The 474 Kg weight means the Twizy will struggle keeping up with scooters in the city. A full charge take 3 and a half hours which returns a manufacturer claimed 60 miles, although expect less if you try to keep pace with traffic.
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Renault's Zoe comes at a new price that will hopefully see greater adoption of electric cars. It's a more conventional design that will feel familiar to owners of small cars such as the Clio. Despite this the substantial weight for a small car, (1,468Kg) gives the Zoe a slightly lumbering drive that belies its diminutive presence. 60 mph appears in a lacklustre 13.1 seconds. With Renault's home charger the battery can be filled in 3-4 hours, from a public fast charger an 80% charge can be given in 30 minutes. Claimed range is 130 miles but in real world conditions equates to under 100.
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Smart's ForTwo is already a well established city car, the addition of an electric motor should make perfect sense. Unfortunately battery leasing costs negate the fuels savings when directly compared to its petrol siblings. The short wheelbase and small wheels make for a turbulent ride quality, especially with the increased weight of the batteries. 60 mph comes in a peppy 11.5 seconds and it will carry on to 78 mph if you dare. The claimed range of 90 miles drops to around 60-70 with normal driving. Charging from a home socket is 7 hours and under an hour with the fast charger.
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The recognizable Up in electric guise is a well trimmed easy to live with city car. The variety of energy recovery modes will suit different drivers but the most economical will take getting used to. The regenerative brakes bite as soon as the throttle is lifted. The e-Up! delivers reassuring torque at low speeds, but does take a lethargic 12.4 seconds to see 60 mph. The stated range is 99 miles, but real world equates to betwen 50-75. Charging takes 9 hours on a regular plug socket and half an hour with a fast charger.
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Which car would you choose for Santa's little helpers? Let me know in the comments below.