Sales are likely to triple in 2013 as automakers continue to increase our choice of plug-in hybrid and all-and crossovers.
General Motors is #1 in plug-in sales with the , a plug-in hybrid with 38 to 40 miles of electric range and 380 to 400 miles per gasoline fill-up range. The Volt has a starting price of about $39,000. GM has a complete Voltec Propulsion System roadmap that envisions added offerings of pure battery-electric and diesel plug-ins. The second plug-in hybrid from GM is the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera, now selling in Europe. The all-electric Chevrolet Spark EV can soon be ordered in California and Oregon for about $32,500 for this fun city car with 80-mile range between charges. In late 2013, sales are likely for the Cadillac ELR using a plug-in hybrid drive system similar to the Volt. Chevy Volt Owner’s Range and Driving Experiences. Chevy Volt Owner’s Range and Driving Experiences.
Toyota, world-leading seller of hybrids, also sells both plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars. The Hybrid looks like another Prius until you spot the J1772 plug for smart charging for a 12 to 15-mile electric range. With a starting price of $32,000, Toyota is #2 sales. Toyota also offers 3 other electric cars in California: the all-electric SUV, the RAV4 EV, with a 150-mile electric range; the FCHV fuel cell car with over 350 mile range, and the new Scion iQ-EV small all-electric city cars for car sharing and campus pilot tests. By 2015, Toyota will also offer 21 hybrid cars with similar electric motors and advanced battery packs used in its electric cars.
Nissan is the sales leader of all-electric cars. This 5-door, 5-seat, hatchback has the right size and range for many who drive under 100 miles daily, or for households with more than one car. Nissan is now making the 2013 LEAF in Tennessee for the U.S. market with options that include Level 1 charge, Level 2 charge at 6.6 kW/hour, and 25-minute DC fast charge. Nissan delivers great value with the new 2013 price starting at $28,800. LEAF Test drive.
Ford in 2013 is giving customers the greatest choice in all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars and crossovers. The new Ford is a 5-door, 5-seat, crossover with more room than a small SUV. The C-MAX Energi is a plug-in hybrid with 14 to 20-mile electric range and 620 mile total range. It is well priced at about $33,700. If you prefer a classic sedan, the Ford Fusion Energi uses the same plug-in drive system, and similar electric and total range. The Ford Focus Electric is an all-electric with 80 to 100-mile range, but priced at $39,200. Increasingly, Ford is offering its cars with customer choice between good MPG, hybrid, and electric.
Tesla owners are the first to put 10 million electric miles on U.S. roads. Customers have 20,000 on order and/or on the road. Tesla is delivering the roomy Model S luxury sedan that starts at about $58,000. Production of the Roadster has stopped, with deliveries totaling 2,500. The Model S has a remarkable electric range options of 160 to 300 miles per charge. Tesla helped shareholder Toyota to bring back the Toyota RAV4 EV, an electric SUV. Orders can now be placed for the Tesla Model X Crossover SUV with optional AWD, with deliveries starting in 2014.
Honda will soon be taking orders for the 2014 Accord Plug-in Hybrid in a premium midsized sedan with comfort for 5. Starting at around $39,800, the Accord Plug-in Hybrid rates high in efficiency at 115 combined mpg, 15-mile electric range, and 574 total range. For a few hundred test drivers, the all-electric Honda Fit EV can be leased for $389 per month. The new compact 5-door 5-passenger hatchback electric car uses Blue Energy lithium-ion battery pack for a 100-mile all-electric range.
Daimler is the automotive giant that owns Mercedes, Smart, and is a Tesla stockholder. The new Smart Electric can be purchased for only $25,000 ($17,500 after federal tax credit). This Smart price breakthrough will expand the market for electric cars. The 2-seat Smart Electric has a range of about 70 miles, which is great for cities and universities. In San Diego, 12,000 members of Car2Go car sharing program drive 300 of these Smart Electrics. Mercedes is testing electric cars with over 300-mile range by adding fuel cells to the electric drive system. 200 Mercedes F-Cell are going into test fleets in the U.S. and Germany. Look for an expanded roll-out in 2015.
BMW has 1,000 ActiveE all-electric cars in metropolitan markets of California, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, including the DriveNow car sharing. In 2014, you can order a BMW i3 all-electric city car or BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports coupe that dazzled movie audiences in Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. BMW will extend range with innovative super-strong, yet lightweight materials including aluminum frame and carbon fiber reinforced plastic, or CFRP for short. The i3 body consists of two independent modules: the Drive Module consists of an aluminum chassis and the powertrain with the lithium-ion battery, the performance electronics and a compact but powerful electric motor.
Mitsubishi i-MiEV fits into tight parking spaces and tight electric car buyer budgets. The Mitsubishi i starts at about $29,000. This fun-to-drive 5 door, 4 seat hatchback, fits in those precious city parking spaces too small for most EV. The i-MiEV has an electric range of 62 miles (EPA adjusted) with a 16kWh lithium battery.
Electric car sales will triple in the U.S. each year from 20,000 in 2011 to 60,000 in 2012 to 180,000 in 2013, showing sales similar to the early years of. Accenture and some others forecast over one million electric vehicles in the United States by 2015. Clean Fleet Report forecasts one million globally by the end of 2016.
Over 10 million electric vehicles are possible by 2020, especially if oil prices rise as battery prices fall. Single electric utilities have scenarios for charging over one million electric vehicles in their own service area by 2020. With renewable energy investment required of utilities in 30 states, these utilities are most interested in night time charging of electric vehicles with wind, geothermal, and hydropower. Utilities are also implementing smart grids and incentives for off-peak charging.
Over 100 competitors are fighting for U.S. share of the electric car market. Some may be struggle to get significant share due to time delays and cost of safety and other regulatory approvals, delays in funding, or unpleasant surprises from a supplier. It’s a tough business. Even Tesla had to add 700 pounds and two years to get the first Roadsters in customers’ hands.
Fisker offers a beautiful $100,000 Karma luxury sports coupe. Coda offers an all-electric sedan with more range than the LEAF and Focus Electric. Both companies struggle to assure buyers that the companies will be there for the next 10 years to service and support their cars. Battery makers, such as Panasonic, Sanyo, LG Chem, and Samsung see strong growth, while others such as A123 and EnerDel struggle in the face of intense competition.
For three years, we have read about China’s plans to bring electric cars to the U.S. Although China’s U.S. ambitions have slipped badly, its automakers cannot be ignored. China has over 100 million light electric vehicles, e-bikes and e-scooters in daily use. It’s new 5-year plan calls for 100 million electric charging stations in China by 2020. BYD, with gold-plated investors such as Warren Buffett, has only put a few hundred electric vehicles on the road in China and continues to delay introduction to the United States. CODA with its $39,995 sedan has started delivery with more range than theand . Volvo, now owned by China’s Geely has the new C30 Drive E Electric, but the Volvo electric car will be selling only in Europe in the short-term. SAIC, Chery, and hundreds of players are also preparing EVs for China. India might bring us a Maharinda Reva or Nano EV that under prices everyone, but not by 2012, the basis for this Top 10 Report.
Europe, with higher fuel prices and fewer oil subsidies, is forecast to have more electric cars by 2020 than the United States. Better Place may deliver 100,000 of the Renault Fluence with its switchable battery to Israel, Denmark, Australia, and even U.S. taxi fleets. Volkswagen may teach everyone how to extend range by making vehicles light. The concept Up Light weighs just over 1,500 pounds, but it’s only a concept. We loved test-driving the Volkswagen Golf Blue E-Motion, but don’t plan on buying it in the U.S. before 2014. You will likely be able to buy the Audi E-Tron sooner. For fun in the city in 2013, the Fiat 500e may be what you want. Competition will be tough. There is a lot of European innovation that did not make this Top 10 List, which focuses on the U.S. market for the next 12 months.
Please bookmark this Top 10 List and check back as we update. Exciting new electric cars are being driven on the U.S. streets and freeways. Nissan is an early mover with battery-electric cars and General Motors with plug-in hybrids. Competition increases from Mitsubishi, Ford, Toyota, Honda, and dozens of Asian, European and American innovators. The winner will be the customer.