2012 Ford Focus Electric launch, New York City, January 2011

2012 Ford Focus Electric launch, New York City, January 2011

Between the wreck of a Volvo and a $300k Mercedes supercar, the 2011 Detroit Auto show is giving the electric car fan plenty of variety, so if you're planning to visit the show between now and closing time on January 23, here are the electric vehicles you should make the time to see and the EV stories that have been making the headlines.

2012 Ford Focus Electric
One of the biggest launches of the 2011 North American International Auto Show is Ford's new Focus Electric, now based on the brand new international Focus platform. It's Ford's first dedicated electric vehicle, and it's due on sale towards the end of the year.

...and Ford's other EV projects
Not content with launching the Focus, Ford have announced even greater involvement in vehicles with electric drivetrains. The first such vehicle is the 2012 Ford C-MAX Energi, a plug-in hybrid version of a multi activity vehicle based on the new Focus platform. Ford are claiming even better economy than that offered by the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

2013 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell
From a practical family car to an impractical, though considerably more desirable, supercar. We've seen Mercedes and AMG's electric SLS before and it's on display in Detroit. The big news is that Mercedes will be taking orders for the car in 2013. Drive is via four electric motors offering a 0-62 mph time of a scant 3.8 seconds. Yours for $307,000. Start saving...

Tesla celebrates its 1,500th Roadster
Saving is also something that 1,500 Tesla customers have now done, though in this case saving money on gasoline bills having paid out for the $100,000 Roadster. That might not seem many sales since the car's launch in November 2006, but the Roadster's impact on the motoring world has been disproportionate to its modest sales figures. Naturally, you can check out a Roadster at the show.

...And Mr Toyoda tours Tesla Model S
The Tesla Roadster isn't the only model on display at Detroit - the Model S sedan is taking pride of place on Tesla's stand. One of the first people to have a good look was Mr Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation. Having struck a deal with Tesla to supply drivetrains for the upcoming RAV4 EV, Akio-san is clearly keen to check out his "investment".

A Volvo looking a little second-hand...
Most of the cars you'll see at the auto show will be polished and possibly even draped with striking show girls. You might be confused when you reach the Volvo stand then, as you'll see a very bright and very damaged C30 electric car. The crash-tested compact is there to demonstrate Volvo's attention to safety, even with the unique challenge of making electric vehicles safe.

Build Your Dreams with a $35k electric crossover
Chinese maker Bring Your Dreams... let's just call them BYD, from now on... are showing their latest EV, the 2012 BYD e6 S. Easier on the eye than it slips off the tongue, the new crossover will offer a range of up to 200 miles for $35,000 before incentives. At $2,000 more than a 2011 Nissan LEAF, it's offering conspicuously good value for money.