Seven Electric Vehicles To Watch In 2012

Some of the world’s biggest automakers will be bringing new electric vehicles to market in 2012.

Ford Focus Electric

Production of the 2012 Ford Focus Electric has officially begun. Ford’s five-passenger, all-electric Focus is being produced at the company’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne. The 2012 Ford Focus Electric, which is expected to top 100 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent), will have an optional 240V charging system that can fully recharge the battery in just over three hours.

The 240V system also allows drivers to quickly recharge at community charging stations, expanding the vehicle’s daily range. Initially, the 2012 Ford Focus Electric will be available only in California and the New York/New Jersey areas, but vehicle availability will expand to a total of 19 markets throughout the year.

Mitsubishi i

Mitsubishi’s all-electric car, branded in the United States as the “i,” has an MSRP starting point of only $29,125 before the $7,500 federal tax credit. This makes the Mitsubishi i the most affordably priced mass-produced electric vehicle that will be sold in the United States next year. The U.S. spec of the Mitsubishi i features a 49 kW AC synchronous electric motor capable of producing 66 base horsepower (bhp) and an 88-cell 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

The electric vehicle has received 126 MPGe city and 99 MPGe highway fuel efficiency ratings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Mitsubishi i is already available for test drives at select dealerships nationwide and deliveries will begin in early 2012.

Toyota RAV4 EV

The Toyota RAV4 EV is the first of two electric vehicles that Toyota will bring to market in 2012. The RAV4 EV will be the only all-electric mass-produced SUV available in the United States. The electric RAV4 will have an estimated driving range of 120 miles and can be completely recharged in five to seven hours.

Toyota’s second all-electric vehicle scheduled for release in 2012 is the Scion IQ EV. Unfortunately, the IQ will be marketed only to fleet and car sharing programs.

Tesla Model S

Electric car enthusiasts with a preference for pure luxury are preparing for the mid-2012 release of the Tesla Model S. Tesla Motors’ first electric sedan will be available with three different battery packs. The base Model S, priced at $49,900 after the $7,500 federal tax credit, is equipped with a 160-mile range battery pack.

For an additional $10,000, customers can upgrade to the 230-mile range option. The top of the line battery pack provides a 300-mile driving range for a $20,000 premium over the base model. Tesla plans to produce 5,000 units in 2012, and the automaker is currently accepting fully refundable reservations for the Model S sedan.

Honda Fit EV

Honda is making an electric version of its sporty subcompact, the Fit. The Honda Fit EV debuted at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show and will be available for lease in select California and Oregon markets in the summer of 2012.

Drivers can expect 123 miles of emissions-free driving in the city with a three-hour recharge using a 240-volt circuit. The MSRP of the all-electric Fit is $36,625 with an estimated lease payment of $399 per month.

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

Although the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is not an all-electric car, it is definitely worthy of inclusion on an electric cars to watch list. The Prius is the best-selling hybrid in the United States, and Toyota is expanding the Prius family with the addition of a plug-in version.

Toyota’s first plug-in Prius hybrid will be capable of driving about 15 miles in all-electric mode before a 134 horsepower hybrid system kicks in. Estimated fuel efficiency for the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is 87+ MPGe in electric mode and 49 mpg in traditional hybrid mode.

Fisker Karma

The Fisker Karma is another car that vehicle enthusiasts are excited about even though it isn’t an all-electric model. The 2012 Fisker Karma comes equipped with EVer technology, which provides the vehicle with up to 50 miles of electric-only driving range. At that point, an internal combustion gasoline engine kicks in to provide an additional 250-mile driving range.

The vehicle includes a solar roof that can extend the driving range by an additional 200 miles annually, sustainably sourced reclaimed wood interiors and 22-inch Circuit Blade wheels mounted with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires.

Melissa Hincha-Ownby,