Among battery electric cars on sale in the U.S., only three vehicles have sold more than 10,000 copies since 2010: the Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model S, and BMW i3.
But four new or updated models coming for the 2017 model year may change those equations.
The most eagerly awaited new 2017 electric car is undoubtedly the Chevrolet Bolt EV, with a promised range of 200-plus miles and a base price of $37,500.
But it's not the only new or updated electric car coming as a 2017 model.
The Hyundai Ioniq Electric, along with updated and longer-range versions of the BMW i3 and Ford Focus Electric, will join the array of plug-in electric cars on sale.
Here's our rundown of all four new or updated entries.
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
(200+ miles of range; base price $37,500 before incentives)
It's clear that General Motors, a pioneer in electric-car technology, intends to take an aggressive position in offering battery-electric cars as well as its Volt plug-in hybrid.
The Volt has the longest range of any plug-in hybrid except for the BMW i3 REx, which can only travel about 75 miles on gasoline once its battery is depleted.
And Chevy will equip the upcoming Bolt EV with a 60-kwh lithium-ion battery that gives it a range rating of 200 or more miles, making it decisively the first mass-priced 200-mile electric car.
The company has been slowly revealing details of the Bolt EV and its technology since announcing last year that it had undertaken an unprecedented partnership with Korean industrial combine LG to develop numerous technologies for the car as joint projects.
The first Bolt EVs to be delivered may arrive as early as this November or December, less than two years after the car was announced by GM CEO Mary Barra at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.
And GM says it will be offered for sale nationwide, unlike its compliance-car predecessor the 2016 Chevrolet Spark EV, which will be replaced by the Bolt EV.
Chevrolet Spark EV at CCS fast charging station in San Diego.Enlarge Photo
Electric-car advocates continue to argue over whether the Bolt EV is a compliance car too, as former GM product czar Bob Lutz alleged, or whether the company will make a concerted effort to sell as many of them as possible.
Questions also remain about Chevy's ability to market both the Bolt EV and the Volt beyond the early-adopter buyer base that's supported the Leaf, Volt, and Model S over the previous five years.
But those questions shouldn't obscure the main point: the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV will be the first 200-mile electric car for a price under $40,000—and it'll go on sale late this year or early next year.
That is, as GM underscores repeatedly, considerably before the end of 2017, when Tesla Motors says it will start sales of its Model 3 sedan. That model will also have a 200-mile range and will carry a base price of $35,000.
2017 Hyundai Ioniq, 2016 New York Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric
(110 miles of range; on sale early in 2017; base price TBD)
Hyundai's Ioniq lineup is the first car in the world to be offered with the choice of a hybrid-electric, battery-electric, or plug-in hybrid powertrain—but no conventional gasoline version.
The company expects the Ioniq Hybrid to sell best, but the Electric version will be launched second, shortly after the Hybrid lands in dealers at the end of the year.
The Ioniq Electric is likely to be rated at about 110 miles of range from its 28-kwh battery pack, which is similar to that used in the Kia Soul EV but uses different lithium-ion cells.
The pack is mounted under the rear seat and load bay of the hatchback body, rather than under the floorpan like those of the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S.
But Hyundai hinted that perhaps the pack could be extended into the tunnel between the two seats if more capacity were needed.
Still, the Ioniq Electric will have essentially the same range as the 2016 Leaf, as well as the updated BMW i3 and Ford Focus Electric.