Green light: five electric or energy-efficient cars that are exciting to drive
Carmakers are producing hybrid and all-electric vehicles to top all the thrills of the greediest of gas guzzlers
For drivers, picking an energy-efficient vehicle or an electric car is a positive way to reduce your carbon footprint. And, although the Hong Kong government has now capped the tax discount for electric vehicles at HK$97,500 – having discontinued its full waiver of first registration tax for electric vehicles (EV) earlier this year – many carmakers are offering new and exciting options every year. Here are five great green models that are well worth taking a look at.
2017 BMW i3 with Range Extender (REx)
At a glance: The second generation of the five-door urban electric car, first launched in 2013.
Power: 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds
Energy efficiency: Two models – the BMW i3 (60Ah (amp hour)) and BMW i3 (94Ah) – offer ranges of 190km and up to 300km (200km in every day operation), respectively, in the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle).
Interior: There is no centre tunnel between the driver and the front-seat passenger, and no B-pillar between the opposing doors. Sustainable materials, such as carbon and wood, are cleverly used to complement the overall design.
Notable points: The car has powerful acceleration that is almost silent. Also, the battery can be charged within a few hours using the standard charging cable (Mode 2) or the BMW i Wallbox or BMW i Wallbox Pro.
Renault Zoe Z.E.
At a glance: First released in 2012, the Z.E. has become Europe’s best-selling electric car.
Power: 0-100km/h in about 3.2 seconds, powered up by 460hp twin electric motors, with 640Nm of torque.
Energy efficiency: The new Z.E. 40 battery gives this EV a range of 400km NEDC, which equals about 300km in real-world terms.
Interior: Premium leather upholstery and a leather-covered handbrake.
Notable points: The Z.E. is carbon fibre, kevlar-bodied, weighing 1,400kg, and has 20-inch wheels and a wider track than the standard saloon.
Audi A3 Sportback E-tron
At a glance: Unveiled in 2013, the A3 Sportback E-tron remains a favourite.
Power: 0-100km/h in 7.6 seconds, and capable of topping at 222km/h via a specially designed six-speed S-tronic gearbox. It possesses an impressive 140hp engine.
Energy efficiency: It has a 1.4-litre TFSI fuel-injected petrol engine and an electric motor. A lithium battery delivers an electric-only range of 50km, and average petrol consumption at about 1.5 litres per 100km. Charging takes less than four hours at a household electrical outlet.
Interior: Quintessentially Audi, in terms of interior aesthetics and quality of finish.
Notable points: The car has a five-star European crash-test rating and can come with an optional “virtual cockpit”.
Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Executive
At a glance: This updated version of the Porsche Panamera has a 150mm wheelbase extension. Costing about HK$3.5 million, this all-wheel-drive, four-door tourer offers a stylish way to keep your emissions down.
Power: 0-100km/h in about 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 310km/h via an eight-speed, fast-shifting gearbox. Porsche has combined the Panamera Turbo’s 4-litre, 550hp V8 engine with a 136hp electric motor to give the big hybrid 850Nm of torque.
Energy efficiency: 2.9 litres of fuel consumption per 100km and 66g/km emissions; and a rear-mounted liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery with 14.1kWh energy capacity and an electric-only range of 50km.
Interior: A sporty car that also provides comfort for four passengers on a long journey, this hybrid offers extra legroom with power seats with contoured comfort headrests. There is storage space for items of different sizes and a foldable table that is totally hidden when stowed.
Notable points: The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid can be charged in six hours via a 230V connection, and dedicated apps are provided to assist you in battery management. The ascending centre console is designed to enable swift hand movement between steering wheel and gear selector.
At a glance: The first batch of Tesla’s most affordable electric car to date arrived in Hong Kong on July 28. There is a long queue of buyers already, and those ordering one today might not see delivery until the end of 2018.
Power: 0-100 km/h in under 6 seconds
Energy efficiency: Range of 345km per charge. Generally, a Tesla wall connector provides up to 80km of range per hour, while a mobile connector can provide up to a 10km boost per hour when used with the standard adapter plugged into a household outlet.
Interior: The dashboard has been replaced by a 15-inch centre touchscreen control panel, allowing a clutter-free, minimalist look. The design consists of all leather and open-grain wood, with a glass roof and brushed metallic accents.
Notable points: Aerodynamic aluminium wheels; car lock control through smartphone app with a credit-card sized backup swipe slot; toggle wheels on the steering wheel for adjusting mirrors and controlling the audio functions; a big boot (or trunk), and a front “frunk”.