The Holidays are over, the New Year celebrated, which means it’s the time of year when the auto-world descends on Detroit for the North American International Motor Show. 

Held over the coming two weeks, it will showcase the very latest in automotive design, innovation and technology.  

Last year, the ‘Electric Avenue’ hosted some of the competitors in the Automotive X-Prize, as well as the 2011 Mitsubishi i-Miev, 2011 Nissan LEAF and BYD e6.  Many other automakers chose to display their plug-in vehicles outside of the cliched Electric Avenue. 

Among them, concepts from Audi, Volvo and BMW.

Tesla Motors’ 1000th production Tesla Roadster drove from California to Detroit as part of its NAIAS celebrations of its production milestone.  It was displayed at the NAIAS alongside Tesla’s Model S concept, attracting intense media interest. 

But that was a year ago. What about this year? Here’s just some of the automakers we’re expecting to have something exciting to show this year. 


Ford looks to be a bit of a wild card at this year’s NAIAS. We know something big will be unveiled tomorrow at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but Ford has hinted that hit has more than one vehicle under wraps to unveil in the next week. 

2012 Ford Focus Electric teaser image

2012 Ford Focus Electric teaser image

If the preview shots and the information Ford shared with us in October are anything to go by, expect a formal unveiling of a 2012 Ford Focus Electric, complete with the 110-volt convenience charing chord and a range of around 100 miles per charge. 

Does Ford have anything else planned? We live in hope. 


Following on from last year’s successes, Tesla is keen to show off its ‘alpha build’ of its 2012 Model S sedan.  We’ve heard a steady stream of stories in the past week about Tesla, so expect its official unveiling of the ‘alpha build’ of this seven seat luxury sedan to attract a lot of attention. 


Venturi may not be a mainstream automaker in the conventional sense, but it was extremely busy during 2010. In May, the Venturi Global Challenge left Shanghai on an epic  8,700 mile trip. It’s goal?  A publicity stunt to prove Venturi’s drivetrain and electronics were up-to-par. 

Then in August its Buckeye Bullet 2 broke the World Electric Vehicle Land-Speed Record in Utah with an average top speed of 307 mph. 

Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5 Landspeed Record Car

Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5 Landspeed Record Car

Venturi’s past creations have always interested audiences. Long before Tesla was selling its Roadster, the company unveiled the Fetish, an $800,000 Li-ion powered supercar roaster. Unlike the Tesla, very few have been sold since. 

Venturi have told us they are unveiling something at the show. But that’s all we know. We hope it’s an actual production vehicle rather than yet another concept. 

BYD e6

BYD e6



Build-Your-Dreams, or BYD for short, got a reputation in 2010 for being a company whose press releases were perhaps a little over-optimistic. 

At the start of 2010 we were promised U.S. versions of its e6 electric crossover by year’s end. Now, twelve months on, we’re still waiting.  But BYD’s presence at the NAIAS, and the promise of a slew of new vehicles has piqued our curiosity. 

Expect a new plug-in hybrid sedan, the S6DM, alongside a revised fully electric e6, named the 2012 BYD e6 Premier. 

If the photographs posted on BYD’s site are anything to go by, the e6 Premier looks as if it matches U.S. expectations on trim and equipment more than its Chinese market predecessor. 

Also at the show, BYD will launch an electric bus, the e-Bus K9. But with a range of just 155 miles per charge, we’re doubtful of its usefulness as a mass-transit solution. 

Li-Ion Motors

If your response to that name is “Who?” then we’d understand. Li-Ion motors won the alternative side-by-side category at the Progressive Insurance Automotive X-Prize  last year with its Wave II.

Li-Ion Motors Wave II, Progressive Automotive X-Prize winner.

Li-Ion Motors Wave II, Progressive Automotive X-Prize winner.

Looking something like a cross between a spacecraft and the original Honda Insight hybrid, the Wave II certainly commands attention. But with such unconventional styling are consumers going to want to buy one?

Li-Ion Motors have a confirmed NAIAS press event booked, but that’s all we know.