6 AMP HOUR CHALLENGE: Eliminating electric anxiety

For something completely different we took a range of electrified vehicles to the racetrack to see just how far we could go

6 AMP HOUR CHALLENGE
The song went “it's not easy being green”... But circa 2013 electrified vehicles are fast becoming as easy to use and live with as their petrol siblings – in some cases even easier! And while that might be reassuring to some people, there’s still many that remain unconvinced.

Range anxiety, purchase price and a fear of the unknown are all pertinent issues for prospective buyers. So with that in mind, we take a look at a range of electrified vehicles to help eliminate some of the mystery.

Now we could have driven around the city until we run out of electricity (or petrol in the case of our hybrid friends), but where’s the fun in that? Instead, we took to the racetrack to see just how far we could travel at highway speeds, and which vehicle would live up to its range claims.




>> Holden Volt

>> Renault Fluence ZE

>> Toyota Prius c

>> Nissan LEAF

>> Mitsubishi i-MiEV

>> Honda CR-Z

The wrap-up of the 6 AMP HOUR CHALLENGE:

>> The wrap-up video


CHALLENGE CRITERIA

There’s a lot of new technology entering the motoring marketplace. Electrification is increasingly common among new models with all-electric, hybrid and even fuel-cell electric vehicles vying for a share of the space once occupied solely by conventionally-powered internal combustion engine cars.

To those unfamiliar with the trends it can seem daunting. Not all electrified vehicles are the same. But the good news is that most are very accessible, easy to drive and cheap to run.

Here, we aim to showcase a range of electrified vehicles, all of which are available for purchase now, or in the very near future. The cars in question will be evaluated by our experienced adjudicators to see how they drive, while also being weighed against a set of criteria.

The criteria are:

ON THE ROAD
An electrified car may do most of the things a regular car does. But if it handles like a tent in the wind there’s little point buying one. In this section we’ll test the cars’ refinement, safety, dynamism and performance.

VALUE FOR MONEY
While this area might be viewed as subjective, our aim is to highlight how different electrified offerings are priced. New technology is always expensive, but some manufacturers manage to offer a lot more car for your coin.

FIT, FINISH AND FINESSE
Here parts, panels and paraphernalia are put under the motoring.com.au microscope. We look for flaws in design that could lead to issues down the track. Something that doesn’t fit or operate as it should when new will very likely become a serious problem later on.

EXECUTION OF INTENDED PURPOSE
Simply put: how well does the car do what it was designed to do? The cars on test are made to carry four or five passengers and their belongings comfortably and economically. Factors including comfort, safety and amenity also apply in equal measure.

SUITABLE APPLICATION OF TECHNOLOGY
Gadgets, mod cons and even the way we charge electrified cars are important in technology flagships such as these. Here, we evaluate how successfully technology is applied to our six contenders.

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Published : Saturday, 5 January 2013
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