FRENCH premium brand DS is the latest to join the electric revolution with the launch of its first battery powered model priced from £32,350.
The DS 3 Crossback E-Tense will be on the road in February and it comes as the prestige marque rolls out its low emissions strategy with the addition of a plug-in version of the larger DS 7 SUV which will be arriving around the same time.
With a real world range of some 200 miles on a single charge, the electric DS 3 Crossback is almost identical to conventionally powered versions which were launched earlier this year.
Like for like the EV costs between seven and £3,000 more than the petrol models in top but one Prestige trim and some five to £3,000 more at top specification Ultra Prestige level.
DS says that a full recharge will take between five and eight hours and the car's batteries will be brought back to 80 per cent capacity in around half an hour from a fast charger.
As such the zero emission DS 3 Crossback is well placed to compete with the likes of other electric cars from Kia, Hyundai and Nissan - although the French offering has a much more upmarket feel.
As the premium marque in the PSA stable - which also comprises Citroen, Peugeot and Vauxhall - the E-Tense model come with posh trim, luxury touches and plenty of technology.
With the exception of E-Tense badging on the tailgate and the lack of exhaust pipes, the electric model looks identical to its regular counterparts.
Inside, software changes see display screens specifically designed for electric vehicle operations added to its functions but other than that the car is very familiar and boot capacity is unaltered.
Having tried the E-Tense on good runs around the outskirts of Paris the car impresses, especially as an everyday commuter.
Even over longer distances it held its own with the claimed range appearing highly accurate.
We completed the best part of 100 miles and saw a drop in battery capacity to around 65 per cent having started out fully charged. A further 45 miles on open roads reduced the reserves to some 25 per cent.
There are three drive modes available - eco, normal and sport - and each changes the feel of the car although the sport setting felt a little unnecessary such is the instant power available from the motor.
Top speed is 93mph and 0 to 60 acceleration less than nine seconds which puts the electric car on par with higher powered petrol versions in the range.
The DS 3 Crossback E-Tense is powered by a 50kWh battery slung below the rear seats and tips the scales at almost two tonnes although changes to the rear axle and suspension accommodate the extra bulk well.
Power output is rated at 136bhp and with 260Nm of torque available it has the most pull of all the models in the brand's compact SUV line up.
Brake regeneration is good and although there is no way of altering the amount of stopping power available - as is the case on the Korean EVs - it is possible to drive the E-Tense only on the accelerator making life easier for the driver especially in traffic.
Sat nav, air conditioning and a full set of safety aids are all standard and the car's upmarket feel sets it out as a class act in this sector.
As with any electric vehicle there will be compromises but for those who want emission free motoring in a compact SUV with a genuine luxury approach then the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense has all it takes.
Indicative PCP rates start from £399 a month on a 47 month plan for a model in Prestige trim which with the Government grant for EVs is priced from £32,350 and top out at £449 for Ultra Prestige models which come in at £35,350.