We thought the 2011 Geneva Motor Show was one of the best ever for electric cars and green vehicles, but the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, starting in less than a week, is shaping up to be even better.
We'll be covering the show in-depth next week, but in the meantime we've rounded up all the electric cars you can expect to see at the show.
Audi's original A2 was a high-tech, aluminum-bodied subcompact launched in 1999. Audi's new A2 is a high-tech, electric-powered subcompact, not yet confirmed for release. It's designed to show off the latest in Audi's LED and laser lighting technology in a small, luxurious EV package.
Audi's 1+1 seat, race-car style Urban Concept started the cascade of German EV concepts and will be drawing a lot of attention at Frankfurt. Range is only 37 miles, but Audi is claiming high quality urban fun.
BMW's take on an urban electric car isn't far from being production ready. It uses a carbon composite chassis to reduce weight, and though BMW admits the full glass doors won't make production, the styling is otherwise pretty close to what we'll see on the production vehicle.
There have been rumors of an Infiniti electric car for a few years now, and it could well be revealed at Frankfurt. Details are slim but it could share electric componentry with the 2012 Nissan Leaf, and other rumors suggest commonality with some of Renault's Z.E. models. Either way, it'll be an important luxury entrant into the EV market.
Smart is showing an updated electric ForTwo at Frankfurt, but aspects the electric ForVision is designed to preview the future ForTwo model. We suspect the pre-crashed look to the doors won't survive the journey to production, but the rest of it looks very promising. It's set to share a platform with Renault's next Twingo minicar.
Looking not at all dissimilar to the Audi Urban Concept, Volkswagen's Nils is only a one seater. Range is similar to the Audi and styling has echoes of the Up! minicar and previous high-economy VW concepts.
2011 Nissan Leaf
Rather than Nissan's ground-up approach to building an electric car, Ford has undertaken the conversion route. The regular drivetrain is replaced by a motor and batteries, but it should still prove a worthy competitor to the Leaf.
Mitsubishi's statement of intent was being first to market with a usable electric car. The i (still known as i-MiEV in other markets) has been on sale for a few years now, and the version at Frankfurt will be the original model, narrower and less powerful than the U.S. market version.
Now a familiar sight at auto shows the Leaf is no less important than it was when launched. It's still one of the least compromised electric family cars with good performance, respectable range of up to 100 miles, and enough practicality to handle family trips.
Nissan's French partner Renault has jumped in at the deep end with it's EV program. Two models are already production ready, the Kangoo van and Fluence sedan, and two are still in development, the Twizy urban minicar and Zoe subcompact. You can read about our drive in the Fluence here.
The 2012 model year version of the electric Smart is designed to right some of the wrongs of the current model. Performance and range are increased - to 75mph and 86 miles respectively - and a fast-charging option will finally be available. For two-wheel fans Smart is also showing its production eBike electric bicycle.
Although the C30 isn't a full-scale production model, Volvo is trialling it to help with development of future models, now expected to be developed with Siemens. Electric power somehow suits the quirky C30 styling, and range is par for the course at between 60 and 100 miles depending on conditions. It's no less safe than the gasoline versions either.