bright sparks

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Cover Story -

ELEC­TRI­FI­CA­TION of the au­to­mo­bile is un­der way and

Cars­guide has driven the cur­rent heroes and hope­fuls. The Nis­san Leaf tops the lot and is com­ing to Aus­tralia next year. The hy­dro­gen-pow­ered Honda Clar­ity is a game changer and the range-ex­tend­edGMVolt is also im­pres­sive.

What makes the Leaf so good is that it drives like a real car, not a science ex­per­i­ment. It has a work­able Corolla-sized cabin, rides and han­dles well and is quite spritely in traf­fic. Now we have to wait for the show­room price and the es­sen­tial de­tail on charg­ing a bat­tery car. The Clar­ity is still only in lim­ited tri­als but it’s a work­able fuel cell car in­tended to show that hy­dro­gen can be a gen­uine en­ergy source for trans­port.

Fuel cells were orig­i­nally de­vel­oped dur­ing NASA’s lu­nar pro­gram to gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity and, al­though still costly, they are com­ing.

The Volt will be a Holden and takes a fresh ap­proach to mo­tor­ing. Its petrol en­gine helps charge its bat­ter­ies. Gen­uinely elec­tric, it is good to drive but is likely to be ex­pen­sive and with a cramped cabin.

This is the Cars­guide peck­ing or­der for the cur­rent heroes and hope­fuls:

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