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LA Auto Show Wrapup: Five New Plug-In Electric Cars (Video)

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For our final piece on last week's Los Angeles Auto Show, we put together a video on the five new plug-in electric cars officially unveiled there.

Three of them are plug-in hybrids, a pair from Ford and one from Honda, and the other two are small battery-electric conversions by the makers of the gasoline minicars on which they're based.

The 2014 Chevy Spark EV and the 2014 Fiat 500E are both compliance cars, designed and built to sell in numbers high enough that their makers comply with California regulations requiring sales of a certain number of zero-emission vehicles by six large automakers.

For the record, Chevrolet denies that the Spark EV is a compliance car. The fact it's (so far) being sold only in California and Oregon--but not Washington, which has no ZEV requirement--doesn't help that case, however.

The plug-in hybrids include two very different vehicles from Ford that share an identical plug-in version of the company's latest hybrid electric powertrain.

One is the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi, the lower-volume plug-in version of its new C-Max Hybrid that squares off head-to-head with the Toyota Prius hybrid.

The other is the 2013 Ford Fusion Energi, the first plug-in version of the established Fusion Hybrid.

This year, the Fusion has been redesigned with a striking body that some liken to an Aston Martin, along with a whole range of more efficient powertrains.

Finally, there's the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid, that company's first-ever Accord plug-in. It will compete directly with the Fusion Energi, as well as the Prius Plug-In Hybrid.

Four of the five cars had been announced or seen before--the Fiat 500E is the one global debut at the show--but it's the first time the public can see all of them together in a single place.

Only the C-Max Energi is available today, having gone on sale in October.

The Fusion Energi and the Accord Plug-In will follow early next year, and the two battery-electric minicars will go on sale late next summer.

For more coverage of the show debuts and news, see our Los Angeles Auto Show news page.

Watch our video rundown of all five cars, and let us know what you think in the Comments below.

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Comments (7)
  1. Excellent video. The sound, video, transitions, and content are all well done.
    I feel like the three plug-in hybrids shown all reveal weaknesses in the Plug-in Prius offering. They all offer much longer e-range and a better ability to keep the vehicle in electric drive mode. On the other hand, I think the Prius still has a significant lead in the MPG area once the battery is depleted.

    As for the Spark EV, it looks like a great commuter car, and while the styling is not great, I prefer it over the LEAF. But my top choice would be a Focus EV, if only I could buy one here in Massachusetts.

    Great to see so many choices.
     
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  2. The Prius should have better MPG because it's lighter and has a smaller/weaker engine. No surprise there. That's what typically happens... at least until you hit a limit where the aero on the smaller car starts to work against you.
     
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  3. John, would you take the Focus EV over the Fit EV if both were available?
     
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  4. That is a tough one. I really like the Honda Fit, but I think I would take the Focus EV.
     
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  5. John, I don't find PiP electric performance or range to be limited. I guess it depends on your expectation. I just want to use the EV miles for around town city driving. The 50 MPG gas engine is for the highway longer trips.

    What's your commute like?
     
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  6. Can you use any EV miles at all if you require full heat blasting around the town during the freezing cold?

    Your PIP would turn on the engine for heat..
     
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  7. The accord looks nice and the MPG in hybrid mode sounds great, just wish it had a little further electric range to get the full tax credit. That sticker shock may hold it back from being a big hit.
     
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