Six New Plug-In Electric Cars Coming For 2014

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BMW i3 Coupe concept

BMW i3 Coupe concept

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This is an exciting time for electric car enthusiasts. From just a handful of choices only a few years ago, buyers in some states now have access to as many as a dozen different plug-in vehicles.

It's set to get even better--over the course of the next few years, another six electric vehicles are on the way. Here's our full run-down of the most important plug-in vehicles debuting over the next year.

2014 BMW i3

The 2014 BMW i3 electric car isn't just important, it's exciting too--and it's nice to be able to say that about a new electric car.

BMW has explored electric vehicles before with thorough testing programs--significantly, the MINI E and BMW ActiveE electric vehicles--and that knowledge is helping develop the i3, a compact car based on a dedicated platform. A range-extended model will also be available, to quell those with range anxiety.

It's high-tech too, with a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) unibody, and the i3's minimalist innards are trimmed in sustainable materials. It's all very futuristic, yet as tasteful and considered as any internally-combusting BMW.

And if the i3 isn't exciting enough, the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car will arrive shortly after...

2014 Cadillac ELR

2014 Cadillac ELR

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2014 Cadillac ELR

Back when Chevy launched the Volt range-extended electric car, it promised the Voltec powertrain would appear in other vehicles.

Well, this is the first "other vehicle" it's appearing in--the 2014 Cadillac ELR. Behind the sharp-suited Cadillac styling is a thoroughly modern drivetrain, utilizing the same 1.4-liter gasoline engine as the Volt, and a similar electric drivetrain.

We say "similar" because to suit the Caddy's upmarket status, ELR drivers do get a little more power and torque than their Volt counterparts. They also get two fewer doors, turning the ELR into a sleek and distinctive coupe. Electric range stays the same though, at around 35 miles. Deliveries should begin early 2014.

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

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2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

Initially, we suspected the Chevy Spark EV to be one of the small but growing range of "compliance cars"--electric vehicles designed and built solely to meet California's requirements for electric vehicle sales.

Thankfully, that isn't the case--Chevrolet is actually rather serious about the Spark EV, and as well as making it available beyond just west coast markets, they've thoroughly re-engineered the gasoline Spark for its new electric powertrain.

The styling differences are subtle--some blue paint here, a Volt-style grille there--but under the skin it's a real wolf in sheep's clothing. A 110 kW (130 horsepower) electric motor gives it far more shove than the gasoline model, and its 400 pounds-feet torque output matches that of a Ferrari 458 Italia supercar.

The Spark EV will go on sale in several U.S. markets, as well as Canada, South Korea and Europe. U.S. pricing starts at under $32,500, pre-incentives.


 
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