Luxury electric cars leading the charge in sustainable driving

Direct current fast charges and driver assistance systems provide driving pleasure and functionality without the emissions

Make a bold statement with luxury electric cars, such as (clockwise from top left) Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron Sportback, Lexus UX 300e, Mercedes-Benz EQC, Porsche Taycan, BMW iX3 and Mini Electric.

Premium and performance carmakers are making bold statements of intent as they embrace electric mobility and sustainability. From luxuriously appointed interiors and spacious cabins to dynamic handling and thrilling acceleration packed into ranges of up to 470km, these are some of the most desirable electric cars available now.

Audi e-tron Sportback

Audi is setting the bar high for electric vehicles with its e-tron Sportback, a car that combines the spacious practicality of a sports utility vehicle (SUV) with the elegance of a four-door coupe.

Form and function merge for real efficiency gains in the e-tron Sportback. That sloping roofline translates into improved aerodynamics for better energy consumption - to a range of up to 347km on a single full charge of its 71.2kWh lithium-ion batteries (depending on driving conditions). And with a direct current (DC) fast charger, these batteries can be juiced from empty to 80 per cent full in just 30 minutes.

At the business end of things, the efficiency of an electric drivetrain does not diminish engagement and refinement. Instead, the pair of asynchronous electric motors in the car's axles combines to deliver 230kW (or 308hp) with 540Nm of torque to take the car from 0 to 100kmh in a mere 6.8 seconds. With Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive, drivers will revel in the confidence that comes with exceptional grip and control.

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BMW has added to the hallmarks of driving dynamics in its much-loved BMW X3 Sports Activity Vehicle by giving it a green heart, courtesy of the brand's fifth-generation e-drive system.

Keen drivers will be smitten by how spontaneously the BMW iX3's electric motor delivers 286hp of power and 400Nm of peak torque directly to the rear wheels. As the car can sprint from 0 to 100kmh in 6.8 seconds and goes on to a 180kmh (electronically limited) top speed, BMW's Adaptive Suspension ensures that drivers remain confident and in control.

Driving pleasure is not compromised as the BMW iX3's 80kWh lithium-ion batteries return up to 460km on a single full charge. With a 150kW rapid DC charging, the car's 400-volt batteries will fill from empty to 80 per cent capacity in 34 minutes. In addition, the BMW iX3 is the most energy-efficient in its class, consuming just 18.6kWh/100km. A full recharge at home can cost as little as $13 to $18, depending on the electricity retailer. At current electricity prices, it can cost as little as $500 to drive 15,000km in a year.

Beyond the comfort that is evident from the ambient lights in the spacious interior, the BMW iX3 comes equipped with state-of-the-art driver assistance systems. These include the Driving Assistant Professional which makes each drive safer with features that will autonomously help keep the car in its lane and prevent forward collisions in slow traffic.

In addition, a wide array of features such as 20-inch light-alloy wheels in the new aerodynamically optimised design, panoramic glass sunroof, BMW Head-Up Display and Harman Kardon surround-sound system add up to enhance the driving experience.

There is also a BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant for that personal touch with information sharing during each trip, and digital services like Connected Charging which keeps tabs on the car's battery levels and maps nearby charging points. More than just sheer driving delight, prepare to be pampered with the highly coveted BMW iX3.

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Jaguar I-Pace

The all-electric Jaguar I-Pace is everything a Jaguar is renowned for yet unlike anything before it.

It is possibly love at first sight as the I-Pace stands out with an elegant, aerodynamic design for minimal resistance and maximum range and stability. Complementing that are sculpted flowing lines, a dramatic bonnet scoop and a muscular stance with signature rear haunches.

Underneath the I-Pace's lightweight frame is a pair of electric motors that are similar to those of Jaguar's I-Type Formula E racing cars. Powered by its state-of-the-art 90kWh lithium-ion battery cells, the motors generate 400PS and 696Nm of instant torque for exceptional driving thrill. Complemented by all-wheel-drive traction, the Jaguar I-Pace will reach the century sprint in an electrifying 4.8 seconds with zero tailpipe emissions. Best of all, this performance is managed with SUV-like practicality and an impressive range of up to 470km (WLTP Cycle) on a single charge.

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Lexus UX 300e

Lexus has taken the best of its hybrid battery technology and applied it in its first electric car - the Lexus UX 300e compact crossover. And it aims to delight drivers seeking a car that is as progressive as it is stylish, both inside and out.

The Lexus UX 300e is right at home in the city, where a full charge of its lithium-ion batteries will yield a 300km range, good enough for a full work week before a recharge is required.

The car also promises engagement and delight, courtesy of a 150kW electric motor that puts out 201hp with 300Nm of torque. What drivers will actually notice is the thoughtful engineering behind the car, with features such as Acceleration Pitch Control ensuring buttery smooth take-offs, while the car handles with balanced poise and precision around corners.

Most crucially, each Lexus UX 300e provides peace of mind and convenience. Not only will owners get to enjoy the longest warranty available for an EV on the market at eight years or 200,000km, but they will also get to enjoy complimentary access to the full range of Lexus Hybrid models as part of its Kinto Share service and free charging at the Lexus Boutique.

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Mercedes-Benz EQC

The new Mercedes-Benz EQC closely resembles the popular GLC SUV in stature. But that is as far as the similarities go because the new EQC crossover is built on a unique monocoque body and is distinctively debonair.

Under the skin, the EQC has a structural frame housing 384 lithium-ion battery cells that have been bolted onto the bottom of the car. Together, the battery cells supply 408 volts of power and can store up to 80kW of power and return 423km in range. With a fast charger, the batteries can be recharged from 10 to 80 per cent full in just 40 minutes.

What is even more thrilling is the manner in which the EQC channels all that energy to the two electric motors on each axle. Together, they produce 408hp with a whopping 760Nm of torque that can power the car from a standstill to 100kmh in just 5.1 seconds

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Mini Electric

Good things do come in delightfully fun packages. In this case, the Mini Electric packs all the thrills of a zippy hot hatch and eclectic styling without the ills of carbon emissions.

Energetic Yellow accents on the front S badge and wing mirrors, plus an embossed Mini Electric logo at the rear and charging flap, hint at the Mini Electric's sustainable heart. A closed-off front grille with large hexagonal surrounds and 17-inch Electric Power Spoke wheels also help it stand out from its "conventional" petrol-powered siblings.

On the inside, the Mini Electric houses a 5-inch digital instrument cluster that replaces the dials in front of a new Nappa leather-wrapped sports steering wheel. It also comes with the Driving Assistant package, with standard features such as lane departure warning, pedestrian lookouts and light city braking.

It may pack lithium-ion batteries, but the Mini Electric is as zippy and eager to please, appealing to drivers looking for a three-door hatch that handles like a go-kart.

That enthusiasm will encourage drivers to summon all 184hp of power and 270Nm of torque from its electric motor for some grin-inducing fun - all of which typically happens in the 7.3 seconds it takes for the car to get to 100kmh from a standstill.

Expect some 232km (WLTP-rated) of driving pleasure on a full battery with a charging downtime of 3.5 hours with a regular AC wallbox charger.

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Porsche Taycan

The all-electric Porsche Taycan sports saloon joins the German performance carmaker's stable for even greater appeal. Impeccable precision and exhilarating performance are some of the defining hallmarks of this new model that features a rear-wheel-drive in a choice of two battery sizes to suit varied needs. As standard, the single-deck Performance Battery model deals out 326hp of power with 345Nm of torque, and a range of up to 434km. Power increases to 408hp in overboost mode with launch control.
In the optional Performance Battery Plus, base power stands at 380hp, or 476hp in overboost mode with launch control, with 357Nm of torque. The viable range from this twin-deck battery option is 434km. Regardless of battery choice, the Porsche Taycan will stir emotions with a 5.4-second century sprint before topping out at 230kmh. Razor-sharp handling and balance will bring satisfaction to every drive. When it does need to be juiced up, fast charging will take an empty battery to 80 per cent full in 22.5 minutes under optimal conditions at 800V charging stations, with a maximum charging capacity (peak) of 270kW.

It may be the most junior in the line-up and the fourth member amongst its siblings, but the Taycan features a wide range of options. Besides a whole selection of seven new colours and five interior trim choices, owners can also opt for a colour head-up display where desired drive information can be preset. Other features include a programmable adaptive air suspension with a Smartlift function that proactively adjusts the car's ride height for optimum comfort and efficiency.

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