Five Electric Cars You’ll Still Be Able To Buy In Five Years

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2011 Nissan LEAF in Boulder, Colo. for BolderBoulder

2011 Nissan LEAF in Boulder, Colo. for BolderBoulder

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The electric auto industry -- more than the conventional auto industry -- is an extremely volatile and competitive place.  

And unlike the mainstream auto industry, small-scale and boutique companies like Tesla Motors and Fisker Automotive actually compete for the custom of electric car buyers alongside major automakers like Nissan and Ford. 

But while 2012 promises to bring a new wave of electric cars to market, which electric cars  do we think will still be available to buy in five years’ time, and which cars will be long-forgotten in the history books? 

Today, we’re going to focus on cars we think will still be available to buy in dealer lots across the country, but in future features we’ll concentrate on cars we think will still be a good used buy in five years -- and which cars we think you won’t be able to buy. 

Nissan Leaf

With a dedicated battery production facility being built in Smyrna, Tennessee and a huge commitment to making the Nissan Leaf through at least 2014, we think Nissan will still be making the Leaf in five years’ time. 

But much like Toyota’s iconic Prius hybrid, we think the Nissan Leaf will probably be into its second major revision -- with a revised, more conventional body, higher performance and longer range battery pack. 

In order to remain competitive, we’d expect a 2016 Nissan Leaf to have significantly dropped in price, with a sticker price before discounts between $18,000 and $23,000. 

We’d also like to think Nissan’s controversial Carwings system will get much-needed revisions, improving range predictions and solving the niggles that its first generation telematics system has suffered from. 

Ford Focus

Since its inception 13 years ago. the gasoline Ford Focus has proven itself with consumers worldwide, as well as an impressive number of wins in various motorsports. 

But with the third generation of the popular family hatchback came a variety of new drivetrain options -- including an all-electric model.

All-new 2012 Ford Focus Electric

All-new 2012 Ford Focus Electric

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While the all-electric Focus isn’t even available to buy yet we think the Focus’ existing reputation as a gasoline car will transfer over to the Focus Electric, prompting many existing Ford customers to make the switch from the familiar gasoline model to electric one. 

It’s difficult to predict what to expect of this model for 2016 -- but an increased range, better performance and lower sticker price are all highly likely. 

Chevrolet Volt

Much like the Nissan Leaf, the Chevrolet Volt is a car which we’re certain will still be available in one form or another in five years’ time. 

2011 Chevrolet Volt

2011 Chevrolet Volt

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Like its all-electric rival, the plug-in range-extended hybrid represents the first in a long-line of plug-in cars that General Motors has hinted will become an increasingly important part of its lineup. 

What do we expect to be different about the Volt by 2016? We’re not sure, but a lower price is almost a given at this point. We’d also like to see an improved gasoline fuel economy, making running in blended or gasoline-only mode a lot closer in economy to the fuel efficiency offered by Toyota’s 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid. 

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Comments (9)
  1. Well, I guess I disagree. Think will have to do a lot more than move to Russia to get costs in line with its spartan econo car image.

    Tesla however will be quite successful in the premium market, not so confident about their move to low cost vehicles. Karma will have a tougher time after initial enthusiasm dies down, and again I am more doubtful about the low cost Nina. One of the big differences between Fisker and Tesla is Tesla's much superior electric motor.

    Toyota will do well to stay with Tesla's drive train as it is first rate, however they will move away from Tesla's battery pack.

    As designed for automotive use battery packs decline in price, Tesla too will abandon their approach using thousands of laptop batteries.

  2. Really, have you forgotten about Tesla?

  3. No, but it's generally accepetd that Tesla will face a long, uphill struggle to survice on its own. I love the company and hope I'm wrong, but if Tesla survives, it's more likely as a niche supplier and not as its own OEM. The vehicles from Nissan, GM, Ford will make it to market and the parent companies should be around. How many years out Tesla becomes profitable will be critical, of course.
    Think...? Hmm., I can't see it, especially given their difficult financial situation with EnerDel and its struggle for survival.

  4. +1. Agreed. None of the companies named have come close to matching Telsa in range, speed or driver experience. Musk is a visionary and Tesla will be a player.

  5. Tesla S, the first "real car" electric car.

  6. I'd also wager that the upcoming Fiat 500 electric and the Smart electric will be in production in 5 years ... not sure how successfully though. I also seem to recall that Tata was planning an electric Nano. While it will probably NEVER make it to US shores, if it goes into production I wouldn't count it out in five years. Finally, while perhaps not BYD, we can expect at least SOME electric coming from China.

  7. No one's mentioned the Honda Fit EV. Probably because it isn't anything more than a prototype yet. Despite questions about Honda's commitment to an EV as opposed to a fuel cell vehicle, I think the Fit is an excellent choice for electrification. Honda has solid "skills". I expect them to do a good job of playing the EV game and to stay with it.

  8. in 5 years the electric car market will be unrecognizable from what we have today. i see the fastest growing segment being a "crossover" from highway capable EVs and low speed NEVs especially in the service arena.

    this will create a whole new ballgame for manufacturers supplying meter readers, couriers, mail/package delivery, etc. these will be a spartan vehicle max speeds probably no more than 40-50 mph with 50% more efficiency than current EV cars that can take advantage of quick charge options

    but then again, this is about who is here now and will be here in 5 years. the Volt is not an EV so it is ignored and the current NEVs are all small companies barely maintaining a market whose only advantage will be dirt cheap prices.

  9. The TWIKE has been available since 1996... and will continue to be the most sensible EV for quite a time, unless industry abandones the dinosaur concept and adopts a much leaner model. I guess I'll be driving my TWIKE for another 15 years, judging from the looks of this lot. Happily, too !

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