This month sees the launch of the Elettrica, the first production electric car on the UK market with the option of a lithium power supply. The car is said to provide almost twice the range of other small electric cars at 70 miles. Lithium-ion batteries are more commonly found in laptops and mobile phones. They offer higher performance, but have yet to become commonplace due to cooling and battery life problems.
The Elettrica is available from Future Vehicles, the exclusive distributor. Drivers in the U.K. will be exempt from the London congestion charge and from road tax, and will enjoy free parking in Westminster, the City and many other parts of London.
The car combines Italian styling and design, Japanese engineering and British electronics, and will be available in lead-battery and lighter, longer-lasting lithium-battery versions, the latter offering a maximum speed of 45 mph. the lead-acid battery offers a 40-mile range and a maximum 40 mph.
The Elettrica has an aluminium safety cage, disc brakes, front and rear impact bars and has undergone front and side crash-testing.
The Elettrica is priced at £9,950 for the lead-battery powered version and at £12,750 for the lithium powered version.Prices also include registration and delivery to any London address. Future Vehicles makes no mention of the lithium battery overheating problems which have affected some laptop computers, and reportedly delayed Toyota’s adoption of lithium ion batteries for its third-generation Prius hybrid car.