An all-electric BMW will be hitting Australian shores this year, while Toyota begins to move off-shore, writes Chris Nixon.

All-electric BMW – a clean pioneer

For those want to have cake and eat it too (in a motoring sense, that is), BMW will introduce an electric-powered urban car in Australia late this year.

The i3 is a five-door hatchback with a claimed 200km battery range. Not much, but BMW points out most motorists rarely drive that far in their daily lives. There will be an optional range-extender version for those who do, which will keep the battery charged, plus a loan scheme with conventionally-powered BMWs.

The high-tech i3 is purpose-built, meaning there will be advantages and compromises.Clean-energy driving pioneers will be marked as having too much style to buy a hybrid Toyota Prius, but can expect to pay $60,000-$70,000 for the privilege.

Already, there’s a queue at Brisbane BMW.

Recall totals Toyota

Manufacturers get little credit for building vehicles that perform reliably and safely for hundreds of thousands of kilometres while enduring use and abuse. Few other consumer products are subject to such expectations, but controversy rains down whenever the makers recall cars to correct a fault.

In the US, Toyota has paid a $1.1 billion settlement, much of it to Toyota and Lexus owners claiming a 2010 recall diminished their cars’ value.

Added to this were the cost of rectification work and a $17 million government fine for the way Toyota handled the recall.

Now, the car company that is a byword for reliability is said to be facing a further $1 billion payout over government claims its inspectors were misled and Congress lied to in an attempt to detail the recall.

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