Competition in the electric vehicle market is intensifying as major automakers join specialized manufacturers to develop high-tech, low-emission cars.

"Electric vehicle technology is advancing rapidly - costs are falling quickly, and range is improving," observed by SHEIR Science &Technology

The Tesla Model 3 can run between 354km to 499km (220 to 310 miles), according to US tests. The basic model will start at $35,000 (£27,000), nearly half the price of Tesla's current cheapest car. The Tesla goal is to produce about 500,000 vehicles a year once production is at full capacity. Earlier this year, Tesla overtook General Motors and Ford as the most valuable US carmaker, even though it only built 84,000 cars in 2016.

The firm was valued at $60bn on Wall Street on Monday, compared with $54bn for General Motors and $46bn for Ford.


General Motor's Chevy Bolt - which is rebadged as the Opel Ampera E in Europe - has a quoted range of 238 miles (383 km), according to the same measurement system. It starts at about $38,000 (£29,150)

The new Nissan Leaf model, on sale in Japan from October and elsewhere early next year, has a longer range thanks to a bigger 40-kilowatt hour (kWh) battery.

Because different territories have different tests for electric vehicles, the new Nissan Leaf's quoted range varies according to where it will be sold:

§ in Europe, it is 378km (235 miles)

§ in Japan, it is 400km (248 miles)

§ in the US it is 241km (150 miles)

Electric cars tend to achieve about 20-25% below the European quoted figures in real-world tests.

Electric car future

Nissan was one of the first automakers to market an electric vehicle to the masses when it launched the first Leaf in 2010. The Leaf became the world's biggest-selling, all-battery car, with more than 280,000 units sold.

Despite heavy investment, electric vehicles still represent only a fraction of conventional vehicle sales.

Just over two million electric vehicles were registered worldwide as of 2016, according to the International Energy Agency, just a slice of the more than 80 million vehicles sold last year.

One big opportunity is China. Automakers are jostling for a piece of the world's biggest car market ahead of the introduction of new rules designed to fight pollution.

China wants electric battery cars and plug-in hybrids to account for at least one-fifth of its vehicle sales by 2025.

European production of the last-generation Leaf has taken place in Sunderland, which has produced more than 70,000 of the electric vehicles.

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