Watts up A stampede of new electric cars

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Automotive News

7, 2011 — 2:28 pm ET

You can the number of electric vehicle and hybrid models being to consumers today on two hands—and several fingers left

But that’s about to change. are lining up to take on the Nissan Tesla Roadster, Chevrolet and other pioneering vehicles.

major automakers will out at least one battery-powered EV or plug-in in the next three years. A few also plan retail

That probably won’t to big sales during this Paul Haelterman, managing of automotive consulting at IHS Global says plug-ins and EVs will for just 1 to 2 percent of North sales through 2015.

For the five years, they’re vehicles, pure and simple, he

The main reason: For the average the payback period for the added of such vehicles will be 15 years, Haelterman says. the recharging infrastructure is lacking.

he adds, rising petroleum and the declining cost of EV technology make the vehicles less by 2020. Add tougher fuel and emissions rules, and automakers little choice. They to get in the electrified-propulsion game, if only to be in case consumer tastes quickly.

Here’s an overview of coming EVs and based on what the companies and sources are saying.

Aptera 2e

This Oceanside, Calif. seeks a federal loan to production of the 2e, a three-wheel EV. Aptera to follow that with mainstream vehicles. Timing is

Audi plans a range of electric cars starting the limited-edition battery-powered e-tron of the R8 in 2012. A plug-in hybrid is to follow in 2014. Audi test electric variants of the A1 this summer in Germany.


Megacity vehicle project is to produce an electric city car in To cut weight, BMW will make use of carbon fiber and aluminum.

The stage of the project was the Mini E fleet. BMW moves into two this year with a test fleet of the BMW ActiveE, an EV on the 1-series subcompact. BMW unveiled the at the Geneva auto show.


automaker BYD Co. which had planned to U.S. retail sales of the e6 crossover in 2011, pushed the scheduled U.S. launch of its EV and plug-in hybrid to spring BYD has leased 10 F3DMs to the city of Los It also plans to lease the e6 to fleets.

Coda sedan

Automotive, a Santa Monica, startup, plans to launch its sedan in the second half of year, delayed from December.


EnVision Motor Co. of Ames, has begun assembling EVs. It electric powertrains and other in partially assembled vehicles from Renault/Dacia. EnVision to sell a seven-passenger wagon, and cargo van.


The 500 EV, an electric version of the Fiat is scheduled to arrive in the United next year.



The Karma plug-in luxury sedan is scheduled for a launch at the Valmet plant in The Karma is the first of six models plans through 2016. The

— Karma convertible, on the Sunset prototype shown in

— Second Karma-based

— Small sedan to be in Delaware starting in 2012; now as the Nina, but the name could

— Possible coupe and based on the Nina sedan; executives have not confirmed but in announcing the company’s acquisition of Motors’ Wilmington, Del. in 2009, Vice President Joe mentioned them.


Motor Co. expects to deliver the electric Focus compact car in the States late this An electric version of the Transit van is in production. Other planned EVs a plug-in hybrid version of the small minivan for the 2013 year.

CEO Dan Akerson has said he several different variants of hybrid Volt-technology vehicles in the few years. In January, Akerson a plug-in hybrid multipurpose is in the works, likely by the 2013 year. Also planned: a hybrid version of the Cadillac SRX by 2013.

This year German subsidiary, Opel, the Ampera plug-in using technology. Opel will an EV minicar at the Geneva show.

Last fall GM began a fleet of electric-powered Chevrolet in South Korea, but there’s no on production plans. Also, GM has fuel cell EV research; retail sales in California in would not be a surprise.


The Fit EV enter demonstration fleets year. Honda Motor Co. CEO Ito has said the vehicle would go on in 2012. The EV Concept will be in Geneva.

Honda is developing a two-motor hybrid powertrain, will debut in 2012. It allow for driving in electric, and gasoline-only modes. The technology debut on the 2013 Accord.

is leasing its FCX Clarity hydrogen cell car to select Honda in Southern California, with of a retail launch in 2018, if not


Kia has shown the Pop concept, a three-seat city car, but has not announced a plan.


Mazda to launch an EV based on its Mazda2 in the spring of 2012. Initially the car be leased in Japan, mainly to customers. Nothing has been about U.S. sales, says.


Mercedes-Benz to bring an A-class EV to the United within three years. company Daimler is working China’s BYD. Daimler to build more than 500 EVs this year.

Herbert head of e-drive and future at Daimler, recently said the will launch the SLS AMG in 2013 as an EV, by an S-class plug-in hybrid. sources say the S-class plug-in launch in 2014.

Limited numbers of the Mercedes fuel cell EV are available for in California. Mercedes is expected to retail sales in California in


Mitsubishi plans to its i small EV, formerly called the here late this


Mini has not announced for retail sale of the Mini E, in a limited lease test


Infiniti plans to its first EV in 2013. Infiniti a sketch of the five-seat sedan in September that Nissan-Infiniti boss Shiro Nakamura is close to the production model.

EV is part of Nissan and French partner Renault’s lineup of EVs for at least five key segments, with the Nissan Leaf.

One about how Nissan might the Leaf: the Esflow concept, an EV car using the Leaf lithium ion pack, appears at the Geneva

Meanwhile, the alliance has not announced to adapt Renault’s EVs for sale as Nissans — but there is an set of possibilities. They include the Fluence large sedan and a car-derived van, scheduled to in Europe in midyear; a two-seat

called the Twizy; and the Zoe four-seater. has said it is aiming for EV production of 500,000 units within the few years.


In September, set up a venture with supplier Axle Manufacturing to make all-wheel-drive systems for EVs and hybrids. No are available about product


Daimler’s Smart is selling limited quantities of its EV now. Daimler plans production in 2012.


plans a plug-in Swift but has not a timetable.


Production of the S sedan, Tesla’s follow-up to the Roadster, is scheduled to start in Tesla expects to offer a EV in 2013. Tesla also has it will launch a small EV for under $30,000 in four or years.


Think is small quantities of its U.S.-manufactured EV to fleet users and plans sales in limited markets year. The company is looking at areas such as San Francisco, Los San Diego, New York and Washington, Also on the list: Indianapolis, of its proximity to Think’s Elkhart, plant.


Toyota it will build 35 RAV4 EVs in with Tesla Motors for a fleet. Toyota wants a version by 2012. The companies may develop an electric Lexus RX

An electric version of the Scion iQ go on sale in 2012. It is not certain if it carry a Toyota or Scion

A plug-in version of the Prius with a 15-mile EV-only will go on sale in 2012. plans a hydrogen fuel vehicle in 2015.


VW plans to launch a full-electric of its Up minicar, the E-Up, as well as versions of the Golf and Jetta, in 2013. The Golf electric here in late 2013 or 2014.

VW will produce the XL 1, a two-seat hybrid, in 2013. Sales begin in Europe and expand to the States sometime afterward.

Volvo will launch a test fleet of its C30 EV this Test fleets also operate in the United States and next year. Volvo CEO Jacoby declines to say when the car be in dealer showrooms.

Jacoby Volvo will introduce a hybrid in 2012, with retail sales beginning 2013. Most likely will be the plug-in diesel-electric V60 Volvo will show at the auto show. Production is to begin in 2012.


startup Wheego says it start retail sales of the a two-seat EV microcar, on March 30. It a five-seat car this year, by a light truck.


ZAP’s partner Jonway Automobile it will sell the A380 EV SUV by and ZAP’s Alias EV roadster by

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