2012 Mitsubishi i, City Island, NY, Aug 2012
One of the first dedicated electric cars on sale globally, the Mitsubishi i (more sensibly known as the i-MiEV elsewhere) was originally based on Japan's tiny kei-car regulations.
It's grown a little for the U.S. but still occupies very little road, while providing a surprisingly spacious interior. It's hugely easy to drive too, with simple controls and peppy low-speed acceleration
It'll only top 80 mph though, and at those speeds battery life is short. EPA range is 62 miles, but it's wise to expect less than that--particularly if driven with vigor.
The new kid on the block, the electric version of Scion's iQ is actually the most efficient electric vehicle in the U.S.
Which is a great pity, given that Scion has absolutely no intentions to sell it in the U.S. Instead, the company will run a small test fleet.
Perhaps that's just as well though, because unlike its gasoline counterpart, it can't offer the specifications of its Smart rival--range is only 53 miles, and it takes 14.3 seconds to reach 62 mph. Toyota just doesn't seem to care that much about electric cars...
We're now on the third-generation of Smart's electric model, and the company may finally have nailed it.
It's both quicker and more efficient than the previous model, the former by quite a margin. Power is almost double that of the previous car and it now accelerates quicker than the gasoline Smarts. It also has a range of 90 miles, to the previous car's 84.
Throw in the price, lowest of any electric car in the U.S. at $25,750 pre-incentives, and it's not hard to see this as Smart's best vehicle yet.