Pictures Eleven Electric Cars Charge Ahead in 2012 Amid Obstacles

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Pictures: Eleven Electric Charge Ahead, Amid

Tesla Model X

Photograph by Tim Corbis

Its doors hoisted raptor wings, an all-electric Model X basks in the spotlight at the design studio in Hawthorne, The Model X, which Tesla plans to begin building in for sales starting early is just one of the new electric models to descend onto the market in the ahead.

Already, owners of than 2,300 electric Roadsters have logged 27 million miles on battery since 2008. Some Nissan Leaf owners the globe have covered than 100 million miles. Sunday, tens of thousands of attended events organized in 65 cities for the second annual Plug-in Day, and this electric models are sure to attention at the Paris Motor

Yet today many industry harbor only cautious for the future of a technology more 100 years in the making. A lot of the early have kind of gotten out of the but the costs are not low enough to be affordable for a market, said Mike research director for the market firm Lux Research.

On Tuesday, disclosed that the company be forced to raise at least million and change the terms of its million loan agreement the U.S. Department of Energy. of Tesla’s second-generation car, the S sedan (priced from have fallen at least a behind schedule, and the Energy has granted a waiver for Tesla to next month’s payment February (the rest of the loan is to be repaid early).

As Laslau, an electric vehicle with Lux Research, wrote in an Tesla is struggling in its (admittedly undertaking of starting a car company scratch, and an EV-only one to boot.

— Garthwaite

Published September 28,

Nissan Leaf

Photograph by Bowmer, AP

A cherry-red Nissan plugs in at a public charging in Portland, Oregon, topping off a that can power the car for up to 73 miles kilometers) on one full charge.

An 40,000 plug-in vehicles in 2011. including nearly Nissan Leafs. To put that in consider that the last new powertrain technology to come on the electric vehicles like the Prius—debuted in the late 1990s and six years to cross the 40,000-unit Together with its French Renault, Nissan aims to 1.5 million electric vehicles by (Just 1.4 million to go!) But a promising start last Leaf sales slowed and the is now behind in attaining its goal to 20,000 units in 2012.

Renault and Nissan aren’t the ones reaching for ambitious EV To achieve combined government for 20 million electric vehicles on the roads by 2020, the International Agency wrote in its most clean energy progress sales must nearly each year between and 2020, cost must to decline, infrastructure needs to and consumer choice and confidence a boost.

For Nissan and its chief Carlos Ghosn, the Leaf a crucial test of the company’s billion bet on electric vehicles, Laslau. The new version of the Leaf, in January with batteries at a newly revamped plant in Tennessee, as well as future must meaningfully lower and improve range, says the Lux Research analyst. Otherwise EV experiment is in trouble.

Published 28, 2012

Ford Focus BEV

from Car Culture/Corbis

Quietly on a tree-lined street in Los Angeles, the Focus BEV looks at first just another conventional But peer more closely—you notice an oddly placed pump door. Behind door lurks a charge which a typical driver use four times a day when up a little here and a little work, at home, or around

Plugged into a home station that connects to a a 240-volt outlet, the car’s battery pack is designed to recharge in four hours. a full charge, the battery power an estimated 76 miles km) of travel. That would be than enough to drive London to Oxford, in the United or to make a dozen trips Arlington, Virginia, and Washington, while enjoying 105 mpg-e per gallon-equivalent) efficiency and burning not a of gasoline.

Since launching sales in June, Ford it has sold approximately 100 Focus per month. The automaker aims to that tenfold by the end of the year, and selling the electric Focus in in 2013—all supporting a larger to triple production capacity of plug-in hybrid, and battery vehicles by next year.

Published September 28, 2012

BMW i8

by Spencer Platt, Getty

Slip behind the wheel of a hybrid BMW i8, scoot around in the all-electric i3 (coming in late or spy the new plug-in hybrid Concept Tourer at the Paris Motor which opens Saturday, to a glimpse of BMW’s answer to greener cars can mean for a brand built on sporty

Among the signatures are premium tags (more than euros—$128,740—for the i8 four-seat coupe, to begin sales in 2014), lightweight carbon fiber to out the extra weight of the battery direct online sales at young drivers. and plenty of linked to mobile devices, an app that lets motorists and control battery charging their smartphones. And a new three-cylinder and more efficient than and six-cylinder options—fueled with gas or will step up when the in the plug-in hybrid models out.

Laslau calls the i8 a vehicle for BMW, a model to demonstrate technical excellence, but not in high volumes or revenues.

September 28, 2012


Photograph by Stan Honda, Images

A Chevy Spark green at the New York International Show in April. In August, the full month on the U.S. for this inaugural minicar General Motors, the car found than 2,600 buyers—beating goals. It’s the smallest car released by Chevrolet, and now, an version is in the offing for a limited in 2013.

California’s zero-emission requirements provide much of the for the Spark EV. But for both the plug-in and the gasoline version, GM has city in mind. With the gas version, parking is a major selling for a four-seater that stretches three feet longer the Smart Fortwo.

With the version, GM is stressing the car’s fit for driving habits.

The Spark EV customers living in urban who have predictable driving or short commutes an all-electric Chevy’s chief engineer for vehicles said in a statement the car, which is expected to equipped with nanophosphate batteries from A123

Published September 28, 2012


Photograph by Bret Hartman,

Daniel Weiss, an investor in the electric car company Coda drives his electric Coda (from $38,145) away an event at the Westfield Century Mall in Los Angeles. Rated for 88 (142 km) of driving on a full the Coda can theoretically cover than the average distance each day by American motorists just two hours of charging says the battery requires two to store energy for up to 50 miles, and up to hours for a full charge).

is one of the new companies that have electric vehicle technology as an to break into the long automotive market. It’s one of a few such startups to survive than a few years and actually to put vehicles in the hands of paying

Even Toyota, which its cards so successfully in the hybrid has suggested it overestimated the window of for pure electric vehicles. On the company revealed plans to scale back electric production targets, saying it the market and the ability of still-emerging technology to meet consumer

Published September 28, 2012

Fit EV

Photograph by Reed Saxon, AP

A blue subcompact 2013 Fit EV makes its debut at the Los Angeles Show in 2011, nearly 15 after Honda unveiled its battery electric vehicle, the EV Plus. Rated at 118 miles per (50 kilometers per liter-equivalent) and an 82-mile range, the 2013 Fit EV’s is designed to charge up in less than you’d spend dinner and a movie, or watching a few of Downton Abbey (about hours at a 240-volt circuit).

For any car, the source of its electricity just how green the car’s will be. Simply plugging in than tanking up can reduce the pollution and greenhouse gas emissions with driving, even coal and natural gas are part of the grid mix. Electric are also more efficient internal combustion engines, and wind- or solar-generated electricity to an electric vehicle can result in no greenhouse gas emissions.

However, the Union of Concerned warns. the use of coal-generated electricity significant amounts of global emissions, similar to those an average gasoline vehicle.

And so around the world are seeking to electric vehicles with energy. Stockholm, which 90 percent of its electricity from systems or nuclear, aspires to 1,500 electric vehicles on the by 2015, while eliminating on fossil fuels throughout the by 2050. Amsterdam, meanwhile, has set out to nearly all driving powered by from windmills, solar and biomass plants.

By 2015, the aims to have 10,000 vehicles traveling its roads.

ambitions aside, however, foresees only a bit part for the Fit EV in the years. With 1,100 planned for production over years, and no option to buy rather lease, some critics the model as a compliance car being only to satisfy California By requiring large automakers to plug-in or fuel-cell vehicles up a minimum percentage of their in the state, California estimates 1.4 zero-emission vehicles will its scenic Pacific highways and jammed freeways by 2025.

September 28, 2012

Fiat 500

Photograph by John MacDougall, Images

A Fiat 500 Elettra electrons at an event organized by the RWE in Berlin, Germany, where shortfalls have slashed intended for electric-vehicle research and projects.

Fiat plans to manufacturing the electric version of its 500 later this year—but not complaint, and not profitably. Their Sergio Marchionne, has been about the electric 500 being a car, and is unhappy they’re forced to make it, said

With the 500 Elettra, Marchionne has Fiat will lose $10,000 per car.

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The company have much to spare. year Fiat is expected to as much as 700 million euros million) in Europe. And Fiat is the major car manufacturer in the EU that not present a new model at the 2012 Motor Show when it this weekend.

Published 28, 2012

Toyota RAV4 EV

by Bradley Berman, New York

The Toyota RAV4 EV rises making an appearance in Los Angeles in a decade after Toyota sold electric versions of the to meet California’s zero vehicle mandate.

Initially, at least, the car is slated again for California, where it sales on September 24. Toyota to sell a total of 2,600 EVs within three years—nearly times the number rolled out to in 2002.

While the 2002 used nickel-metal hydride warrantied for up to 60,000 miles, the new EV employs lighter-weight lithium ion warrantied for up to 100,000 miles. with a battery pack and motor developed by Tesla it’s one of a handful of electric boasting a triple-digit range—103 on a full charge, according to the EPA rating.

Even so, Toyota better batteries are needed for cars to take hold. The vice chairman and development Takeshi Uchiyamada, made this week, telling The current capabilities of electric do not meet society’s needs, it’s the distance cars can or the costs, or how long it takes to

As a result, the company has decided to mass production plans for its eQ city car, slashing the goal to just 100 units in the States and Japan. Toyota is its bets on gas-electric hybrid instead, with new plans to out 21 hybrid models by 2015.

September 28, 2012

Smart Electric Drive

Photograph Daimler AG via DAPD/AP

A pint-sized Fortwo Electric Drive past an outdoor cafe the trademark silence of battery cars.

Capable of speeds up to 125 (about 77 mph), the two-seat sells for 18,910 euros in (nearly $25,000). That it one of the most affordable EVs on the market. slated to debut in the United in the spring of 2013, eventually more than 30 markets. the beginning, Smart was designed as an vehicle, Smart chief Winkler told Blooomberg recently.

That’s now paying

Smart has adopted an unusual to cut the price tag: excluding the the most expensive part of the In Germany, drivers can rent the for 65 euros (about $81) per For the whole shebang—car and battery starts at 23,680 euros, or over $30,430.

Fundamentally, the form factor and purpose—a city car—is well-matched EVs’ strengths: sufficient for around-town usage, said However, Smart’s execution has spotty in the past. and is lacking so far on

Published September 28, 2012


Photograph by David Crosling, Pressphoto Agency

Melbourne’s East Dock takes in 20 of the first electric vehicles to go to market in Australia. This of bean-shaped Mitsubishi i electric arrived in August 2010.

on deck from Mitsubishi is the Outlander PHEV, which draw on the Mitsubishi i technology and it into the world’s first hybrid SUV.

Yet the mood electric vehicles has sobered in the since automakers and governments pouring billions of dollars the technology. There were about gas prices, and also the of carbon and the impact of carbon Holman said, until the shifted the focus, slashed resources, and rearranged priorities. The of wanting and needing to be more efficient and use less gasoline, are very real trends, said. But there are just economical ways to meet needs.

There’s cheaper to save gas.

Nonetheless, as as 20 different plug-in models be on the road before 2013 Automakers still face fuel economy and emission And from 120,000-yuan (about subsidies for domestically produced cars in China, to stickers solo drivers of EVs  access to lanes in California, incentives can be found for cleaner cars on domestic energy sources.

And so, as release their EV technology the wilds of the open road and the traffic jam, We’re going to learn a lot over the couple years, said

Published September 28, 2012

Pictures: Cars That Our Love-Hate Relationship With

Photograph from Lambert/Getty

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