Electric cars have been more of a hope for the future than a reality of the present. Driving without gas, without relying on foreign oil, and in silence with instant torque has been demonstrated in many concepts but finding such cars in showrooms has not been possible. However, this is all about to change.
Even though you can get an electric car right now if you try really hard and have a lot of money, 2010 will usher in the first wave of mainstream electric automobiles. Here are the top 5 cars you will be able to buy next year:
2011 Chevrolet Volt Production Show Car
1. Chevy Volt
General Motors first introduced the Chevy Volt concept in January 2007. Within months they knew they had a hit on their hands and started a full production program. Slated to begin mass production in November of 2010, the car should be priced under $40,000 and be capable of driving up to 40 miles on a single charge of the batteries. An on-board gas generator allows the car to continue driving beyond 40 miles and as far as any gas car would take you.
2. Tesla Roadster
This car is the only one that you can buy today. Of course you'd have to pony up an impressive $109,000 just for the base unit, and there's more than a 6 month wait. The car is a small 2-seat pure electric sportscar that goes from 0 to 60 in under 4 seconds. Not a practical car but more of an environmentally friendly rich person's toy. About 200 have been delivered so far, and the company plans to begin production of an electric sedan called the Model S in 2011.
2010 Fisker Karma S Concept
3. Fisker Karma
Another low production vehicle, like the Chevy Volt the Karma has a gasoline range extender to keep the car going beyond its 60 mile pure-electric driving range if needed. Beautifully styled, the car is a 4-door 4-seater that also comes in a convertible version. Expected price tag is $87,500.
4. Aptera 2e
One might debate if this futuristic 3-wheel is a car or actually a motorcycle. It has seating for 3 and runs up to 100 miles on pure electricity. The first production unit has already been built, and there is a waiting list of 4000. Pricing remains unknown but $40,000 is the quoted ceiling, and the cars are expected to be delivered by the end of 2009. One hitch is that you have to live in California to get one.
5. Th!nk City
Newest on the list, the Norwegian company just freshly announced an aggressive plan to bring the 2 seat electric car to the US market in 2010. The small, light and not terribly stylish car will run up to 112 miles per charge and have a top speed of 62 mph. Th!nk plans a 4-seat version as well. It remains to be determined if the company which at one point was bankrupt, will achieve their goal. Pricing is not yet announced.
Others that could be considered are the MINI E though only 400 units are for lease to limited, hand-chosen test fleet participants; the Mitsubishi iMiEV and a yet unnamed Nissan electric have not yet been confirmed for 2010. Toyota also might deliver a plug-in 3rd generation Prius in 2010 but at this point claim market decisions aren't final.
Anyway you look at it though expect next year to be the turning point in automotive history.