One of the biggest motoring events of the year is just around the corner - the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. Manufacturers will be out in force with the best of their product lineup and a combination of glitzy stands and glitzy girls to make the metal seem that little bit more appealing.
What we're interested in though are the electric cars being shown off to the public, so here is our run-down of the five cars we think you should spend the most time checking out at the show.
2011 Nissan Leaf
2011 Nissan Leaf
We've driven the Leaf at several stages from prototype through pre-production and finally production models and every time we come away impressed at how complete and polished it feels, but don't take our word for it - have a sit inside at the show and let us know what you think.
2011 Chevrolet Volt
2011 Chevrolet Volt test drive, Michigan, October 2010
John Voelcker over at our sister site GreenCarReports has driven the production version and gives it a thumbs-up. He was one of a small band of journalists who managed to improve upon GM's quoted 40 mile all-electric range, showing what is possible if you're looking to buy one to handle daily commuting and weekend social duties. Price is around $41,000 before federal and local incentives. Although styling is cautious, the interior is a good place to spend time and when the range-extending gasoline engine kicks in, you'll barely notice.
For even more info, head over to GreenCarReports' Ultimate Guide to the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.
2011 Coda Sedan
2011 Coda Sedan, final production version
What Coda hopes is that customers will be swayed by the longer and possibly more consistant range (up to 120 miles) the Sedan offers. With thermally-managed batteries, you should get consistant performance whether you live in Alaska or Arizona. Of course, initially you'll only be able to buy the car in California and Hawaii, but it's nice to know it can cope further afield. It's expensive at $44,900 before incentives, but we're sure to find out soon if it's worth the asking price.
2012 Toyota Rav4 EV
Toyota RAV4 facelift for the 2010 Geneva Motor Show
The original RAV4 EV is widely commended for being one of the most usable EVs yet produced, and many owners still happily drive theirs on a daily basis and some have racked up as many as 200,000 miles. The new RAV4 EV should offer more of the same and you'll be able to see it in L.A. With a new, more aerodynamic body and a spacious interior the RAV4 should major on utility.
Price is unconfirmed but is likely to be somewhere in the $40,000 range. Good news for EV buyers wanting more space and good news for anyone wanting one of the originals, as used prices are sure to finally start declining a little!
2011 Mitsubishi i-MiEV (U.S. spec)
sketch of wider, U.S.-specification 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV
So what's different? The biggest change is to the body - breaking free of Japanese Kei-Jidosha regulations that require a width of little more than 58 inches, the car has been widened so U.S. customers riding shotgun don't get too cosy and the car won't feel quite as vulnerable amongst SUVs and trucks. It also allows stronger side-impact safety features to be fitted. Also on Mitsubishi's "to do" list was to make improvements to the cheap-feeling interior, especially important given the quality feel of the Leaf and Volt, and now the car will finally be available in left-hand drive.
For more details, the i-MiEV has its own Ultimate Reference Guide.
So there we go - those are the five cars we think are the most important EVs at the show. Some will be familiar, others not so much, but all are worth checking out when the show opens its doors between November 19-28.