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The lean, the mean & the green: three electric supercars put to the test

Stuff’s steeliest pilots whizz from coast to coast to find out which of the new eco-supercars is the most future-friendly

It began as a noble endeavour: drive three practical electric cars from coast to coast, and put everyone’s range anxiety at ease.

Then we looked at which cars to take, and we realised we didn’t just want to save the planet: we wanted to zoom around it in a fleet of next-gen dream machines that outpace their old gas-guzzling forebears on a whiff of petrol and a gulp of lightning.

So, we rounded up three different approaches to the eco supercar – the BMW i8 hybrid supercar, Volkswagen’s retro-futuristic XL1 hybrid and the all-electric Tesla Model S – for a low-carbon cruise across England’s middle. 

READ MORE: Tech-heavy treats from this year’s Paris Motor Show

START
Weston-super-Mare, birthplace of John Cleese (whose family name was originally Cheese) and gateway to the Bristol Channel.

Stop 1
Cheddar Gorge, birthplace of actual cheese and a number of goats. The goats seemed particularly interested in nibbling the white paint from the middle of the road.

Stop 2
Tilshead, on Salisbury Plain. Londis sandwiches all round.

Stop 3
Clacket Lane Services, M25, home to a high-voltage charging point that put enough sparks in the Tesla to take it all the way to Whitstable.

FINISH
Whitstable: oysters (hmm…), fish and chips (better!) and England’s largest village green.

Tesla Model S P85 (£69,000)

The i8 and XL1 are cheat cars. They’ll run forever because they run on petrol. Admittedly a much smaller amount of petrol than the average car, but everyone knows petrol’s going to cost £450 per teaspoon soon. When that happens, batteries will be the only way to power your car, and the i8 and XL1 have got about as much battery power as a Sony Walkman.