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Electric cars at the 2011 Melbourne Motor Show

Big name electric cars are finally coming to Australia. Mitsubishi, Renault and Nissan had their electric wares on display in Melbourne, along with local start-up EDay Life.

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Derek Fung

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1 of 14 Derek Fung/CNET

Audi e-tron

Big name electric cars are finally coming to Australia. Mitsubishi, Renault and Nissan had their electric wares on display in Melbourne, along with local start-up EDay Life.

Powered by four electric motors, one for each wheel, the e-tron has a total of 230kW at its disposal. The 100km/h mark can be dispatched in 4.8 seconds, and the Lithium-ion batteries give the car a range of 248km.

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Audi e-tron

This e-tron's drivetrain will form the basis of an all-electric R8 e-tron that's set to debut in 2012.

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Nissan Leaf

On sale already overseas, the Leaf is due here in 2012. On the show stand, patrons will be able to (just) hear its 80kW, 280Nm electric engine turning the car's front wheels.

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Nissan Leaf

Nissan has a number of ChargePoint stations installed at its Victorian headquarters that allow any Leaf driver to sidle up, plug their car in, swipe their ChargePoint card and recharge their vehicle. The station can then email or SMS the driver to let them know that their car is fully charged and ready to go.

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Renault Fluence Z.E.

The Z.E. will be available on limited release around Canberra in Q2 of 2012. Retail sales begin around the nation in Q4 of 2012.

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Renault Fluence Z.E.

In the engine bay lives an electric motor with 70kW of power and 226Nm of torque. Capable of spinning at up to 11,000rpm, the Fluence can hit a top speed of 135km/h.

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Renault Fluence Z.E.

That massive black rectangular box behind the front seats is the car's removable battery pack. The idea is that if you don't have six to eight hours to fully recharge your battery, you can take it to a Better Place swap station, and have a fully juiced pack installed in around the same time that it takes to refuel a conventional car.

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Renault Fluence Z.E.

Look closely, and you'll notice that the Z.E. is some 130mm longer than regular petrol and diesel Fluences. All of that extra length is tacked onto the rear to help the car accommodate its battery pack.

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Mitsubishi i MiEV

The first electric cab off the rank, the i MiEV, goes on sale from August 2011 with the price set at AU$48,800 prior to on-road costs.

The 49kW, 180Nm electric motor draws its power from a 330V Lithium-ion battery pack. Driving range is said to be 155km, and the top speed is 130km/h.

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EDay E15

Local eco car outfit EDay Life plans to introduce of a number of electric vehicles based on Chinese-made cars. The E15 on display at the show seems to be "inspired" by the Toyota Aygo.

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Curve Tomorrow dashboard interface

When the EDay electric vehicles go on sale next year, they will be shipped with an iPad. The iPad is plugged into a dashboard dock, and will control all of the car's entertainment, navigation and air conditioning systems.

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Curve Tomorrow dashboard interface

The entertainment interface is a development of the Big Player app that's already available on the iTunes store.

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Curve Tomorrow dashboard interface

The navigation system is a work in progress. Like the version seen here, it will be based on Google Maps.

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ChargeIQ point

Any electric car hooked up to a ChargeIQ station can have its charge status and settings monitored remotely via a smartphone app. The station is also able to feed energy stored in the car's batteries back into the grid during on-peak hours, and charge the car during off-peak.

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