EVs, A Fundamental Paradigm Change

2012 Electric Cars That Will Rock Your World

2012 is shaping up to be a year where you are able to choose from more electric vehicles, EV and plug-in hybrids, PHEV than ever before.

Nissan Leaf. The Leaf sports an 80 kW AC synchronous motor backed by a 24 kWh lithium-ion battery. It uses the 3.3 kW onboard charger, you can get up to 100 miles range (US EPA LA4 City cycle) and speeds of up to 90 mph. The electric vehicle will set you back $35200, or $27700 after federal and state incentives.

Ford Electric Focus. Ford Electric Focus, available now with a 92 kW, 143 hp electric motor, coupled to a 23 kWh lithium-ion liquid cooled battery pack, which will take you 3 to 4 hours to charge on a 240v outlet or 18-20 hours on a 120v, a top speed of 84 mph with a roughly 100 mile range, all of which for $39,995, upon which you can add federal and state incentives bringing it down to roughly $32,500.

Ford Electric Transit Connect. The Ford electric Transit Connect is truly a versatile vehicle. Great for fleets, professionals, independents and families, this EV will morph to accommodate your every needs. It uses a 28 kWh lithium-ion battery pack with a 300V nominal three-phase liquid-cooled AC induction motor, giving you an 80 mile range, 6 to 8 hours for a complete recharge on a 240v outlet, twice as much on a 120v, for $65000. Fleet owner and professionals can take about $15,000 from their first unit.

Mitsubishi I. The “i” available now. Can be fully recharged in about 22.5 hours on a 120V outlet but has an optional home 240V EVSE charging dock reducing it to 7.0 hours or with a CHAdeMO Level 3 public quick-charging: 30 minutes to 80% charge. Its top speed of 81 mph is achieved with a 49 kW AC synchronous backed by a 16 kWh lithium-ion, 330V battery pack, and yes, the pessimistic EPA estimates 62 mile range but test drivers have found the 100 mile barrier reached.
$29,975 upon which you can add federal and state incentives brings this car at north of 21,625.

Tesla Motors Roadster. Tesla Roadster, available now and not for long as the Lotus chassis are all accounted for and the very lasts ones are being sold. You first have to talk about the 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds, which I can vouch for is exhilarating! The AC electric motor cranks out a healthy 295 lbs-ft of torque with 300 hp, with 295 lb-ft, can do 125 mph and has a 245 conservative mile range. The price is $128,500 upon which you can federal and state incentives, bringing it down to roughly $121,000.

So what can we make of all this? Firstly, there is more and more choice when it comes to EVs. Depending on budget and needs, there are electric cars that can meet almost all your needs. Secondly, yes the price is steep but incentives help to bring them at levels almost on par with gas cars. Lastly, when you boil it down, 80% of us drive less than 40 miles on our daily commutes. 2012 has more and more electric car choice then ever.

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How can you have an article about new EV offerings in 2012 and not mention the Tesla model S, half the price of the roadster with a 300 mile range. Sure we're still talking about an expensive vehicle with various battery choices ranging from 160 to 300 miles giving prices range from 49,000 to 79,000 but it competes very well with cars of similar level of luxury. If nothing else it's 50% higher range than the roadster at half the price shows the incredibly rapid and ongoing technological improvements and cost reductions that EVs are undergoing.
I thought about it and wanted to wait a little bit before we have firmer delivery dates. As much as I love the Model S, I also know Tesla Motors is a little over enthusiastic about its delivery dates. I'm betting it will ship out early next year. As far as the specs, you preaching to the choir here :) Thanks for your comment, Nicolas
Fair enough, but Tesla has a history of being careful to under promise and over deliver because of the damage to reputation if you constantly miss deadlines. Generally they are conservative with their timelines so people are pleasantly surprised rather than disappointed. Considering they have 10,000 pre-orders for the Model S ( and these aren't just internet expressions of interest, each requires a deposit of either $5,000 or $40,000 for a signature reservation) they have a lot of dedicated customers waiting to be surprised or disappointed and a lot at stake. The most remarkable thing about the 10,000 is that there still isn't a production model in showrooms for people to look at, kick tyres, take for a test drive etc I'm fairly confident that there is another (possibly larger) pool of people who are a little more conservative and are waiting to see a production model finished before placing an order. We are seeing a paradigm shift in the car buying process with EV's, it's unprecedented to have tens of thousands of people placing orders for cars that will take 12-18 months to deliver, if that doesn't show the interest people have in these cars and the market demand then nothing does.
You make a great point by saying selling EVs is a paradigm shift compared to the run of the mill car business. I'm not worried for Tesla the least bit. A friend of mine drove one of the Model S prototype a year or so ago and what he had to say was impressive. I also agree that many people are waiting to see the actual car before buying it, and to be honest, I'm part of it. A car is also a sensory experience for me, so is buying it. In the end, Tesla is doing much more than pushing EVs forward, it's shaking the way business is done. It's a good era to witness. Thanks for your comment, Nicolas