Crowned the 2012 European Car of the Year, the four-seat, five-door Ampera has been touted as the ‘first real-world solution to electric car ownership’. At under 50 miles the battery range isn’t great, but a small range-extending petrol motor is included to recharge the 16kWh lithium-ion battery. The top speed’s limited to 100mph, but acceleration is impressive at 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds. It also achieves a staggering 235mpg with a mere 27g of CO2/km. Available from specialist dealers.
Winner of What Car?’s Green Car Award, 2011, this roomy hybrid is the world’s first mass produced diesel-electric car and is great for families. It features a stop-start system mated to an automatic or manual gearbox and has a pretty high spec. Sat-nav, built-in hard drive, parking assist and distance alert are also included.
£6,690-£7,400 plus £45/month battery hire
If you’re looking for a small, easy to park, full electric urban two-seater, legally classified as a heavy quadricycle in the EU, take a serious look at the Twizy. It’s by far the cheapest on this list and has a reasonable range of 100km (62 miles). The outboard position of the four wheels gives it a novel look, and other nice features include a frame and body of deformable structure, which is lightweight and maximises passenger protection if you suffer an impact. The Twizy was Europe’s top-selling plug-in electric vehicle during 2012
Starts at £16,770 (basic model)
This 1.3 litre hybrid is an affordable family car that’s well-designed, easy to drive and has advanced eco technology. It has been around for a couple of years so you can now pick up cheaper secondhand models. Rear visibility is a marked improvement on other Honda hybrids, such as the Insight or the sporty CRZ.
Driving style usually has the biggest single impact on fuel consumption, and the smoother you can make your driving the more efficient it will be. Changing the way you drive could chop 25% off your fuel bills as well as reducing emissions.
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