Organisers let increasingly attractive electric cars speak for themselves.

Electric cars no longer look like home appliances, and as a result have started to generate genuine interest from a curious buying public.

This is underlined by EcoVelocity, a show featuring electric and low-carbon vehicles that will run for the second year in a row in the UK, kicking off this weekend.

Visitors to the show will be able to take a variety of electric machines for a spin on a 5km circuit.

Show organiser Giles Brown was taking the proof-in-the-pudding approach.


"The best way for motorists to decide on changing to a greener vehicle is by test driving and talking to experts; car buying is a big and emotional process," he said.

"EcoVelocity offers a unique opportunity by offering test drives from different car makers and access to car buying experts all under one roof."

The cars on the test list include the Vauxhall Ampera (to be called Holden Volt in New Zealand), Honda's hybrid and diesel line-up; Nissan Leaf; Citroen's cZero and Peugeot's RXH hybrid. One great feature of the EcoVelocity show was a round of Q&A sessions where the public could quiz those involved in the EV world about current offerings and where the technology was leading. When there's no chance of ducking questions in a very open forum, the results will be interesting, to say the least.

To illustrate the sexing up of the electric car world, organisers drafted in America's electric benchmark, the well-regarded and celeb-courting Tesla roadster, which was built by Lotus on the Elise platform.

There's also the Fisker Karma - undoubtedly one of the best looking EVs on the market. Fisker had its share of woes recently, with 640 Karmas needing their battery packs replaced because of a fault that saw the stylish four-doors shutting down. The recall followed American watchdog Consumer Reports' test of the car - it forked over more than $130,000 to buy a Karma, only to have it break down within 320km. Not ideal, but after a successful round of money-scrounging, the company unveiled its second car, the Atlantic, at the recent New York motor show.