Six New Plug-In Electric Cars Coming For 2014 Page 2

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2013 Fiat 500e live photos, 2012 L.A. Auto Show

2013 Fiat 500e live photos, 2012 L.A. Auto Show

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2013 Fiat 500e

At 108 MPGe highway, Fiat's 2013 500e electric car is the most efficient highway vehicle on sale in the U.S. It also manages an official 87 miles of range, greater than that of other similarly-sized electric cars and more even than some larger models.

While the 500's retro looks will always be an acquired taste, it's one of the more visually interesting electric cars on sale too. Not just thanks to its eye-searing orange paintwork, but also for the aerodynamic wheels, large white front grille and other white detailing.

Inside there's plenty of white and orange trim too, while the usual 500 dual-layer instrument dials are replaced by a TFT screen showing car data. A four-button console occupies the space you'd usually find a gear shifter. Like the BMW i3, customers will also get the use of a free loaner vehicle for longer journeys.

It's just a pity then that, despite all the effort Fiat and Chrysler have put into the 500e, that this one will remain a compliance car--so good luck getting your hands on one outside of California.

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid, 2012 Paris Motor Show

Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid, 2012 Paris Motor Show

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2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid

Mitsubishi is in the doldrums in the U.S. market, with low sales and a range of vehicles that do little to capture the imagination.

Perhaps the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid will change that, with more modern looks and a significantly greener powertrain than previous Outlanders. Under the hood there's a 2.0-liter gasoline engine, but twin 60-kilowatt electric motors--one for each axle--provide a healthy 245 pounds-feet of torque in electric-only mode.

Electric range in EPA testing is unconfirmed, but based on the Japanese 35-mile estimate, we're expecting a more realistic 20-25 mile range. Once that's depleted, you still have the engine providing backup power--though the Outlander can operate in series or parallel hybrid modes too.

2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

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2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

Soonest to appear of all the electric vehicles above is the 2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive.

It may look like any other Fortwo, but this is now the third generation of the company's diminutive electric car and happily, it's also the best. It's a large step up from previous models with far better performance, a smoother drive and greater potential range.

It's also the cheapest electric car on sale in the U.S, starting at $25,750 before incentives. For those able to claim the full $7,500 Federal tax credit and California's $2,500 purchase rebate, you're looking at a brand-new, $15,750 electric car.

Top speed is 78 mph and it'll do 60 mph in under 12 seconds, so drivers won't feel too out of depth on the highway. The Electric Drive's biggest success though is how much better (and quicker) it is than the jerky gasoline version--proof that some vehicles are just meant to be electric.


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Comments (40)
  1. There are some very exciting cars on this list, and I'm sure every year the list will get longer and even more exciting especially with technology only improving with each new generation.

  2. When is the Honda Accord Hybrid Plugin going on sale?


  3. @Neil: The first Accord Plug-In Hybrids were sold in California in January (2 of 'em), but it's a slow and limited rollout. The plain old Accord Hybrid will be a nationwide car, coming in the second half of this year.

  4. The Accord plug-in has an air cooled battery so be careful, same for the Honda Fit EV...


  5. What about the Mercedes B-class EV? Is it due out in 2014? Do we know if it will be available outside the US?

  6. I agree, I am looking forward to see the B Class as well. Since Tesla is pricey, I am going to take a look at the BMW i3 and the B Class.

  7. @Cory: We're not aware of announced timing yet for the B Class Electric Drive, although it might go on sale during 2014. Its maker Daimler isn't subject to California ZEV sales requirements until 2015 (possibly later) so there's no real incentive to sell it this year or next.

  8. Okay, that makes sense. I just remember that Wired said it would be out next year, but I bet your right on the later release date.

    "Mercedes says sales will begin next year, but hasn’t outlined exactly when you can get it or how much you’ll pay for it."

  9. At the car show I was told it will go on sale by the end of 2014 in the states with a 100+ mile Tesla battery range...


  10. I guess the Model X didn't make the cut

  11. @Mark: Model X has been postponed to "late 2014" as what will likely be a 2015 model:

  12. Hands down, it's the BMW i3 that's got me most excited. (Two words: Carbon fiber!)

    And I'm not just saying that because I was one of the 500 Mini-E pioneers! But it really looks innovation--in EVs, if not cars in general--is coming!

  13. Carbon fiber is great until you have to get it insured and repaired...

  14. Both good comments! I'm intrigued by the i3 but never really worried about the insurance costs since I thought if I can afford the car, the insurance is nothing. I'll have to look at this again when more info on the i3 becomes available but I've got two more years left with my Volt anyway, so probably a year before I even worry about making a reservation, etc...

  15. Could you please post some concrete data about how carbon fiber will be vastly more expensive to insure and repair?

  16. Isn't that a "common sense"? I don't have the i3 pricing yet or its part cost yet. Nobody else does either. But anyone with any kind of technical background can derive that from just about every other parts used in other applications. Carbon fiber is more expensive than comparable steel parts. It is lighter, but more expense. That can be compared from bicycle parts to airplane parts.

    If the parts are more expensive, you can bet the insurance premium will be higher.

    But that is okay. Most BMW buyers will be gladly paying for that premium.

  17. Wasn't it the same 'common sense' which led to a statement that the i3 will be a limp-mobile in range extended mode, and not capable of going very fast?

    When real-world data was presented from the LEAF, which showed that the i3 should be able to go up to 75 miles per hour on flat terrain, you changed to requirement to uphill driving to prove your point.

    Did you own any products built from carbon fiber? I did, and they too a lot more abuse than aluminum would. When I needed to have it repaired, it was a lot more reasonable than I would have expected using the aforementioned 'common sense'. A comparable aluminum frame would have likely been junked.

    Please don't use poorly constructed arguments just to talk down something you don't like.

  18. @George Betak,

    I guess you are lacking commone sense. Apparently, you don't get the difference between going 70mph and getting up to 70mph. If the engine is ONLY powerful enough to cruise at 70mph on a flat terrain, then it is a "LIMP MODE". Acceleration takes FAR MORE energy than cruising at a constant speed. If a car can't be driven normal with various road condition, then it is a "limp mode" only car. I call that common sense.

    Now, let us go back to carbon fiber topic. Yes, I have owned many carbo fiber product, especially in my Mountain Bikes. They are way lighter than the AL products, but they aren't cheap. Sure, in performance MTB, weight is important. But it still doesn't change the fact it is MORE expense.

  19. @George Betak,

    Now, let us revisit the topic of the thread. I said the Carbon fiber will be more expense to repair and insure. Does it have anything to do with performance or weight? NO! If you get into an accident, then it will have to repaired. Parts will be more expensive and insurance cost will be higher.

    I think your problem is that you love the BMW i3 and can't take any "factual" critism. Get over it. If you can't look at a product with a critical eye, then you are just another "fan boy"...

  20. There are more comments in this thread
  21. Do we have pricing detail on i3, ELR and the Mitsubishi yet?

  22. Outlander takes it. The bigger the EV vehicle, the more gas we're saving. i3 is cool, but probably out of the price range of the average guy.

  23. Not the best timing for Mitsubishi right now... Production has been halted of this due to battery issues... Even without this, Mitsubishi is a dying brand in the U.S., dealers are few and far between and the company itself is struggling to even survive. Not exactly the best incentives to buy one, unfortunately...

    I do agree that it's nice to see the effort done on the larger vehicles. I also hope Mitsubishi makes it, both overall and with this specifically. But it's not looking promising.

  24. -1...??? Yeah, sorry that facts hurt, people. Interesting, I compliment two comments and I get the same -1. I note that Mitsubishi is having major problems with the Outlander PHEV and I get the same exact -1...

    I understand, some people aren't capable of thinking and it's always the same type of games as back in high school... I'd love to see an actual rebuttal of the FACTS I very clearly referenced here, but again, that would take actual thought, something that a few here aren't really capable of.


    Mitsubishi stopped production of the Outlander PHEV & I-MEV two weeks ago due to fires in the battery pack.

    While I also applaud the effort by Mitsubishi, the company barely exists in the American market now and this will be a struggle. Although the company officially states that the US launch of the Outlander PHEV won't be delayed, I would bet that it would, with production halted and current drivers advised not to even charge their vehicles.

  26. The absolutely hideous appearance of the Outlander PHEV is not going to help it here either. This vehicle is a great concept that is going to die on the vine.

  27. Well, many buyers are willing to overlook the style in favor of technology. I think it is a viable product if it is priced correctly. And it will be alone in that market segment with no competition.

  28. Is the Audi A3 E-Tron coming to the United States, and if so, when ?

  29. Thank you, I was thinking the same!

  30. what about the infiniti? it will be out in just about a year. i "think" it will be branded as a 2015 MY but will be out very early 2014?

  31. I've been waiting for a plug-in with more cargo space than the Volt or Ford CMAX, and most of these won't help. The Outlander might be suitable, but I would really like the Audi A3 wagon or the Volvo C60 plug-in. I need a main family car, not just a commuter car for one spouse.

  32. pricing starts at under $32,500, pre-incentives.
    Who in their right mind will actually pony up 32 grand for a sub-sub-compact?
    But take out the battery, and spread its cost over 10 years, you are looking at a 15 grand compact traveling at 3 cents a mile.
    Its the battery stupid!! Take it out of the car-buyer deal and let someone lease the miles it can produce!

  33. I have a question. When the electric driving range is quoted is it only with the driver or a passenger too ? If these driving ranges are only with one person then that extra say 200lbs will reduce the range by something like 15 to 20 miles that's a pretty important spec that seems to be missing from all the info provided with electric cars

  34. 1. Yes they are only tested with the drivers weight. But one additional passenger that is under 200 lbs will not decrease range by 15-20 miles. I would guesstimate about 2-3 mi. Based on my Volt.
    The EPA says every 100 lbs is about 1-2% of mpg/range.
    (200 lbs) 2 x 2% = 4%

    10800/255 = 42 EV miles est. and my avg.
    10800x96%=10368 / 255 = 40 EV miles est.

    2. All cars are tested under the same conditions for comparison.

  35. I would have said even less than that in real world driving.

  36. Hi Dan, Thanks for the feeback I guess it depends on the weight of the vehicle vs the weight of the passengers. If you built a superlight vehicle say a reverse trike that weighed around 1000lbs then the percentage increase in weight would be significant as opposed to a conventional electric car weighing say 3000 to 4000 lbs.
    The irony here is you build a lighter vehicle to get more range with a smaller pack but the effect on dirving range of extra weight is then magnified

  37. Which keeps bringing up the issue of how to asses road usage gees, given that they use the road, bit don't pay gasoline taxes.

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