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Published on January 15th, 2009 | by Nick Chambers

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Top 10 Electric Cars Coming to the US in 2009/2010

January 15th, 2009 by  
 

Editor’s Note: This list represents the ten “best” electric and plug-in hybrid cars (as I see them) coming out in the next two years, but, after that initial culling, this list has been organized by release date, not preference.

With the onslaught of electric concepts and announcements coming out of the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, you’d think that the entire world is about to junk their old jalopies and rush out and buy electric cars tomorrow.

But, alas, as much as millions of Americans would love to pay 3 cents a mile on their daily commutes, our choices for electric cars are, at the moment, severely lacking.

Although the promise of the 2009 Detroit Auto Show reeks of desperation, it’s not all smoke and mirrors. Believe it or not, there are a bunch of noteworthy electric cars, both all-battery and extended range plug-ins, reaching US production sometime in the next two years.

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So, if you’ve got the time to wait and you find yourself longing for the cheapest, quietest, and most earth-friendly commute you could imagine, take a gander at this list… electric bliss is closer than you probably thought.

1. Aptera 2e

If you’ve been paying attention to the world of electric car start-ups, you’ve heard of Aptera. Although the company’s original intention of reaching volume production by the end of last year never came to fruition, the Aptera 2e lives on. According to recent reports, you can expect to see this car hitting the roads in “volume” by October of 2009.

When: Late 2009 (California Only)

How Much: $20-40K, depending on options

How Far: 100-120 Miles on one charge

2. ZAP Alias

Like the Aptera 2e, the ZAP Alias will sport a design conjured from the bowels of an alien spaceship. Although ZAP just started construction on the facility that will build the Alias last September, the company still swears that the first of these funky 3 wheelers will start rolling off the assembly line by late 2009.

When: Late 2009

How Much: Under $35K

How Far: 100+ Miles on one charge

3. cityZENN (Powered by EEStor)

To be honest, I’ll be blown away if ZENN actually meets the stated delivery date on this one, but if they do… world watch out! The cityZENN with an EEStor energy storage device on board may not be the prettiest kid on the block… but does a 5 minute recharge time coupled with a 250 mile range sound like a game changer to you? I thought so.

When: Late 2009

How Much: Under $30K

How Far: 250 Miles on one charge

4. Th!nk City

Perhaps the most affordable of all straight up electric cars coming to the US in 2009, the Th!nk City will more than likely sport a battery lease program which will cut down on up front costs and allow you to get a new battery without paying out the yin yang when the old one kicks the bucket. Even though Th!nk has been going through some serious financial problems as of late, it seems that they’ve been given enough of a reprieve to make it through the world financial meltdown โ€” although their target US release date of sometime in 2009 may not be accurate anymore.

When: Sometime in 2009

How Much: Under $25K

How Far: 110 Miles on one charge

5. Plug-in Toyota Prius

With the introduction of the new 2009 Prius at the Detroit Auto Show, Toyota also had a bit of a surprise announcement โ€” a plug-in version of the prius will be available to fleets by October of this year. Although this initial release is only a limited test run, I’d imagine that we will see these plug-in Priuses hitting the general consumer market in the 2010 timeframe. Don’t be too floored yet though, purportedly the test mules can only go 10 miles on battery power alone.

When: Limited release October 2009; general 2010

How Much: Unknown, but you can bet there’ll be a decent price premium above the standard Prius so expect it to be around $28-30K.

How Far: 10 Miles on battery power alone, unknown mileage after battery is drained but probably better than the standard Prius’ 50 MPG.

6. Chevy Volt

If you live in the US, unless you’ve been living in a cave, I’m willing to bet good money that you’ve heard of the Volt. Otherwise known as GM’s sole hope for convincing the US taxpayer to fund a bailout, the Volt actually looks like a very impressive work of engineering. And, to be frank, it’s the only car from a major US automaker in the last 30 years that I would actually consider buying. If GM makes it to the finish line and the Volt reaches the market, there’s a new federal tax credit of $7,500 that might actually make the thing affordable too.

When: Late 2010

How Much: Estimates have fallen somewhere between $30-48K (then subtract $7,500 for the federal tax credit)

How Far: 40 Miles on battery power alone, something like 50 MPG after that.

7. Fisker Karma

Although the Karma is truly a play toy for the wealthy, you have to admit, if you have the money to buy one of these things, you have a family, and you care about the planet, this may be the perfect car for you. Having just opened a huge design center in Michigan, Fisker seems to be in a good position to deliver on its promises.

When: Second half 2010

How Much: Around $87K

How Far: 50 Miles on battery power alone, total fuel economy of more than “100 MPG.”

8. Tesla Model S

Another play toy for the wealthy, the upcoming Tesla Model S promises to be a cheaper follow-up to the instantly recognizable Tesla Roadster. Adding two doors and room for a family while at the same time knocking a ton of money off the price of the Roadster, the Model S has the potential to be a knock out hit with the upper middle class. Tesla has hit a bit of a rough patch with cash flow recently, which may impact the actual delivery date of the Model S. If you want to see a rendered image of what the Model S might look like, you’ll have to click here.

When: Late 2010

How Much: Around $60K

How Far: 240 Miles on one charge

9. Nissan Electric Car

Not very many details on this one yet, but Nissan has recently rewritten their overarching business plan to include a huge focus on electric cars including releasing electric cars in the US by 2010. According to Alan Buddendeck, Nissanโ€™s VP for North American Corporate Communications, the initial electric car offering will be priced between $22-$25K and have at least a range of 100 miles.

When: Sometime in 2010

How Much: $22-25K

How Far: At least 100 miles on one charge

10. BMW/Mini Electric Car

At first everybody thought the 2009 Mini E limited lease meant that a future general market electric car release from the BMW Group would be, of course, a Mini E. But after much acclaim, it turns out that the Mini E is purely a test bed for an upcoming BMW branded electric car and that the Mini E will never see full production. No details are known about any of these future BMW electric models.

When: Sometime in 2010

How Much: Unknown

How Far: Unknown

——–

Image Credits: All images from the various manufacturers.


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About the Author

Not your traditional car guy.



  • Spencer

    What’s with no Miles sedan? I know it’s boring, but it’s familiar looks and good safety will be a huge plus in the mainstream market. Personally, I love crazy looking electric cars. Unfortunately, most people don’t.

  • Spencer

    What’s with no Miles sedan? I know it’s boring, but it’s familiar looks and good safety will be a huge plus in the mainstream market. Personally, I love crazy looking electric cars. Unfortunately, most people don’t.

  • Nick, awesome list! The Aptera headquarters are not far from where I live and I am keeping a close eye on what they are up to.. and we picked it as well as one of our top 5 electric cars upcoming in ’09.

    The only thing I can say is that I would have loved to see a mention of the upcoming Miles EV from Miles Automotive (it’s one sexy-looking electric sedan), and also I am still mad at BMW for announcing that they won’t take the Mini-E to production, so I think it doesn’t deserve to be on your list.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Nick, awesome list! The Aptera headquarters are not far from where I live and I am keeping a close eye on what they are up to.. and we picked it as well as one of our top 5 electric cars upcoming in ’09.

    The only thing I can say is that I would have loved to see a mention of the upcoming Miles EV from Miles Automotive (it’s one sexy-looking electric sedan), and also I am still mad at BMW for announcing that they won’t take the Mini-E to production, so I think it doesn’t deserve to be on your list.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Nick Chambers

    Spencer and Sebastian,

    Haha, yeah I debated about putting the Miles EV in here, but in the end my personality was injected and I stuck with the BMW/Mini. What’s a top 10 list without some disagreement? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • ๐Ÿ˜€ Variety is the spice of life. If it wasn’t for BMW’s baffling decision not to produce the Mini-E, it would have been at the top of my personal faves…

  • ๐Ÿ˜€ Variety is the spice of life. If it wasn’t for BMW’s baffling decision not to produce the Mini-E, it would have been at the top of my personal faves…

  • Doug

    What are the odds any of these models will be available in the Southeast by this time line. Our poor part of the country always gets the cool toys later. Also what about the Ford Edge Phev. It is supposed to be out late 2010 as well.

  • Doug

    What are the odds any of these models will be available in the Southeast by this time line. Our poor part of the country always gets the cool toys later. Also what about the Ford Edge Phev. It is supposed to be out late 2010 as well.

  • Nick Chambers

    Doug,

    As far as I know, the Ford Edge PHEV is still just a concept with no actual release date set or even guessed at. Plus, the only Edge PHEV concept that I know about is the one that uses a hydrogen fuel cell. See:

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2007/01/23/ford-unveils-phev-ford-edge-with-hyseries-drive-at-dc-auto-show/

    For more info. If that’s not the one you’ve seen, let me know ’cause now you’ve got me curious.

  • Carbon Buildup

    Nick,

    Great to see a list like this! This is the reason we will not be buying a new car for awhile – electrics are coming out soon! This news isn’t good for auto manufacturers that are relying solely on internal combustion engines for sales. I’m guessing a LOT of people are doing what we are – sitting on our wallets until one of the full electrics are available.

  • Carbon Buildup

    Nick,

    Great to see a list like this! This is the reason we will not be buying a new car for awhile – electrics are coming out soon! This news isn’t good for auto manufacturers that are relying solely on internal combustion engines for sales. I’m guessing a LOT of people are doing what we are – sitting on our wallets until one of the full electrics are available.

  • Nick Chambers

    Mr. Buildup,

    Yeah, I’m hoping to be able to buy one of these things too and if I hadn’t totalled my Yaris last year, I would’ve waited to buy another car until these electrics started coming out and the prices came down. 100 miles is really all I need for any given day, even with my stupid commute.

  • Richard

    Why no mention of the IMiev? Its currently being produced.

  • Richard

    Why no mention of the IMiev? Its currently being produced.

  • Nick Chambers

    Richard,

    I love the iMiev. I got to drive it at the LA Auto Show last year and it was a fun and impressively designed car.

    http://gas2.org/2008/11/21/mitsubishi-partnering-with-california-and-oregon-to-bring-electric-cars-to-market/

    It would have made this list if Mitsubishi had even suggested a time frame for release when I talked with Mitsubishi executive David Patterson at the show. The best he could say was that there’ll be at least a year and a half of testing of the iMiEV in So Cal before they even start thinking about production. So, at minimum, we’re looking at 2010, probably more like 2011. Can’t really include that on a list of cars destined for production in 2009/2010… Although, if you’re willing to wait until 2011, the iMiEV might be a great reason to do so.

  • Doug

    @ Nick,

    Sorry I mixed up the models, it is the Escape that is the PHEV. They have actually delivered 20 to So. CA. Edison. Here is a link to the report.

    http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=27333

    I also misread a little. I thought it said they were aiming for 2010 for this to hit the market, but I guess I read that somewhere else.

  • Doug

    @ Nick,

    Sorry I mixed up the models, it is the Escape that is the PHEV. They have actually delivered 20 to So. CA. Edison. Here is a link to the report.

    http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=27333

    I also misread a little. I thought it said they were aiming for 2010 for this to hit the market, but I guess I read that somewhere else.

  • Nick Chambers

    Doug,

    That escape plug-in hybrid is certainly on my radar too. In fact I wrote about it last year when they made that announcement:

    http://gas2.org/2008/06/13/prototype-ford-escape-plug-in-hybrid-88-mpg-on-85-ethanol/

    It looks like they are shooting for something like 2014-2015 as a release date for that.

  • Doug

    Damn that is a long way off. Do you think with all the bailout business they might up the date a few years. It seems to me 1 year is more than enough field testing.

  • Doug

    Damn that is a long way off. Do you think with all the bailout business they might up the date a few years. It seems to me 1 year is more than enough field testing.

  • Nick Chambers

    @Doug,

    It does seem pretty far out there esp. considering our current predicament. I would hope that production schedules are hastily being revised in secret board room meetings as we speak ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Doug

    Just seems to me that Mulhally really has Ford stepping up its production of hybrid and EV type vehicles. It would really surprise me to see them let an opportunity like this slip. As much as I typically bash the Big 3, I for some reason have faith in Mulhally. He really seems to have Ford on the right track.

  • Doug

    Just seems to me that Mulhally really has Ford stepping up its production of hybrid and EV type vehicles. It would really surprise me to see them let an opportunity like this slip. As much as I typically bash the Big 3, I for some reason have faith in Mulhally. He really seems to have Ford on the right track.

  • Marshall

    Are you rating the cars in the list. or is this a list strictly about the appearance in the next few years?

    Many people are concerned you have rated this vehicle above that vehicle in your list…

  • Marshall

    Are you rating the cars in the list. or is this a list strictly about the appearance in the next few years?

    Many people are concerned you have rated this vehicle above that vehicle in your list…

  • Nick Chambers

    Marshall,

    Please see the editor’s note I just added at the beginning of the article for an explanation.

  • Mark

    I’d love to believe these cars will all go into production, but I can’t. I think the global economy is shifting from a long-term trend of credit expansion to contraction… out-of-control consumption to saving and frugality.

    All the excess capacity caused by the credit bubble, now being shut down, shows up most glaringly in the unemployment rate and price of gas. Unless things get humming again and gas stays above $4, I fear most of these cars will never see the light of day.

  • Mark

    I’d love to believe these cars will all go into production, but I can’t. I think the global economy is shifting from a long-term trend of credit expansion to contraction… out-of-control consumption to saving and frugality.

    All the excess capacity caused by the credit bubble, now being shut down, shows up most glaringly in the unemployment rate and price of gas. Unless things get humming again and gas stays above $4, I fear most of these cars will never see the light of day.

  • Nick Chambers

    Mark,

    People don’t just stop buying altogether in a bad economy, they start buying more intelligently. Certainly overall spending goes down, but, inevitably some industries see record growth.

    For instance, solar panel sales are increasing this economy:

    http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/Solar_panel_sales_brighten_otherwise_dark_economy.html

  • elmo

    interessante mi prenoto per ini car

    come rivenditore distributore o rappresentante per est europao italia

  • elmo

    interessante mi prenoto per ini car

    come rivenditore distributore o rappresentante per est europao italia

  • “The best he could say was that thereโ€™ll be at least a year and a half of testing of the iMiEV in So Cal before”….

    Pfffttt! All this obsessive testing – watch the iMiEV just sail up this vast mountain in Japan (at least twice as high as near LA) and tell me why it needs even more testing in California:

    I was betting on 2010 for them, but that was before the neighborhood Mitsubishi dealership closed up shop.

  • “The best he could say was that thereโ€™ll be at least a year and a half of testing of the iMiEV in So Cal before”….

    Pfffttt! All this obsessive testing – watch the iMiEV just sail up this vast mountain in Japan (at least twice as high as near LA) and tell me why it needs even more testing in California:

    I was betting on 2010 for them, but that was before the neighborhood Mitsubishi dealership closed up shop.

  • Taj

    They’re so far behind the curve it’s pathetic. My lease is up in March, ’09. Can’t look to Motown, as usual. Just another squanderd potential customer stupified by the lack of vision ever since the first oil crisis of the 70s. Year after year, short-sighted blunder after blunder. Big bonuses and bail-outs. Nauseating.

  • Taj

    They’re so far behind the curve it’s pathetic. My lease is up in March, ’09. Can’t look to Motown, as usual. Just another squanderd potential customer stupified by the lack of vision ever since the first oil crisis of the 70s. Year after year, short-sighted blunder after blunder. Big bonuses and bail-outs. Nauseating.

  • Gary

    What happened to Phoenix Electric cars? They seemed ahead of the game but now they are mentioned nowhere

  • Gary

    What happened to Phoenix Electric cars? They seemed ahead of the game but now they are mentioned nowhere

  • Mitannica

    I looked at these cars from a different angle, not from the car enthusiastic. Due to their relatively slow speed, they would be much more safe to drive than the traditional gasoline-powered cars. There are older and disabled people frightened of driving in today’s high-speed traffic thus relying on often costly help to get to and fro.

    So why these cars have to be so expensive? How do we mean to make Earth green again if the prices are sky-high? People who cannot afford these purchases are in much higher number than the opposite. Make it available to all ages, genders, conditions and purses. Then, and only then, can we speak of making life green again on the planet.

  • Mitannica

    I looked at these cars from a different angle, not from the car enthusiastic. Due to their relatively slow speed, they would be much more safe to drive than the traditional gasoline-powered cars. There are older and disabled people frightened of driving in today’s high-speed traffic thus relying on often costly help to get to and fro.

    So why these cars have to be so expensive? How do we mean to make Earth green again if the prices are sky-high? People who cannot afford these purchases are in much higher number than the opposite. Make it available to all ages, genders, conditions and purses. Then, and only then, can we speak of making life green again on the planet.

  • Masao Miwa

    You say the Zenn goes 250 miles (implied on a single charge). I went to the website and the brochure says 30 to 50 miles. It has lead-acid batteries. A golf cart with a car body?

  • Masao Miwa

    You say the Zenn goes 250 miles (implied on a single charge). I went to the website and the brochure says 30 to 50 miles. It has lead-acid batteries. A golf cart with a car body?

  • judy

    I am trying to find out which electric cars will be allowed in wisconsin. I’ve heard that some are not.

  • judy

    I am trying to find out which electric cars will be allowed in wisconsin. I’ve heard that some are not.

  • G Bainbridge

    Like CarbonBuildup, I am sitting on my wallet until we stop the big, gas guzzling internal combustion engine in it’s tracks with a real eco-minded car.

    Who can we harass to get cars like the Think City released in the US immediately upon production. There seems to be no reason for any eco-friendly car not being made available in the US market (except perhaps that Detroit is still be pulling the strings of the decision makers). Who to harass…that is the question.

  • G Bainbridge

    Like CarbonBuildup, I am sitting on my wallet until we stop the big, gas guzzling internal combustion engine in it’s tracks with a real eco-minded car.

    Who can we harass to get cars like the Think City released in the US immediately upon production. There seems to be no reason for any eco-friendly car not being made available in the US market (except perhaps that Detroit is still be pulling the strings of the decision makers). Who to harass…that is the question.

  • Karenina

    I am looking for a small electric car to get around my island neighborhood. (Most people only have golf carts.) I like the ZAP, but am a bit worried about those three wheels… Does anyone know how stable this car is on curves?

  • Karenina

    I am looking for a small electric car to get around my island neighborhood. (Most people only have golf carts.) I like the ZAP, but am a bit worried about those three wheels… Does anyone know how stable this car is on curves?

  • Susan

    Worth noting that the Zenn (at least the current model) is not rated for highway driving. In my local travel, I still have to use the highway so this makes this car useless.

  • Susan

    Worth noting that the Zenn (at least the current model) is not rated for highway driving. In my local travel, I still have to use the highway so this makes this car useless.

  • Victor

    How can this be the top ten in this order? None but the Tesla offer a family everything they need. All the other electric cars are funny looking, or only hold 2 people, or only gt around 100 miles per charge. The Tesla holds 5 passengers, it gets 240 miles per charge, it is all electric, it can do 0 to 60 mph at around 4 secs (about as fast as a Vet even though it is a family car), and it is only slightly more than a gas guzziling Lexus, or Accura, or Buick, or Ford, or Chrysler, or any other earth destroying gas car around. When will people wake up!

  • Victor

    How can this be the top ten in this order? None but the Tesla offer a family everything they need. All the other electric cars are funny looking, or only hold 2 people, or only gt around 100 miles per charge. The Tesla holds 5 passengers, it gets 240 miles per charge, it is all electric, it can do 0 to 60 mph at around 4 secs (about as fast as a Vet even though it is a family car), and it is only slightly more than a gas guzziling Lexus, or Accura, or Buick, or Ford, or Chrysler, or any other earth destroying gas car around. When will people wake up!

  • Victor

    To continue…everybody always seems to complain about the prices of Tesla cars. Although I can not afford the roadster, its price of around $100K is not that exspenive if compared to cars like Mazaratti (with the cheapest being around $290K) and the Tesla is as fast or faster with 0-60 in 3.8 seconds! It just seems that everybody is against Tesla because they are the only ones who got it right. If there is something that I do not know about Tesla that would keep me from buying one, I sure wish someone would tell me. Remember, the more cars bought the cheaper they will becaome. Our government should have given all the money that they gave to the other automakers to Tesla. Tesla could then have given jobs to all teh displaced autoworkers from GM, FORD, Chrysler, etc…and the world would have the best electric car for the best price, with our reliance on foriegn oil being gone and our Ozone saved!

  • Victor

    To continue…everybody always seems to complain about the prices of Tesla cars. Although I can not afford the roadster, its price of around $100K is not that exspenive if compared to cars like Mazaratti (with the cheapest being around $290K) and the Tesla is as fast or faster with 0-60 in 3.8 seconds! It just seems that everybody is against Tesla because they are the only ones who got it right. If there is something that I do not know about Tesla that would keep me from buying one, I sure wish someone would tell me. Remember, the more cars bought the cheaper they will becaome. Our government should have given all the money that they gave to the other automakers to Tesla. Tesla could then have given jobs to all teh displaced autoworkers from GM, FORD, Chrysler, etc…and the world would have the best electric car for the best price, with our reliance on foriegn oil being gone and our Ozone saved!

  • caliguerrilla

    CO2 does not increase atmospheric temperature.. just look at the 600 million year chart.. temperature increase(from sunspots) is what seems to increase CO2 in the atmosphere… not the other way around… watch The Great Global Warming Swindle and read State of Fear.. the reason the elitists are pushing global warming is to keep the 3rd world unindustrialized, “save the planet” is all propaganda

  • caliguerrilla

    CO2 does not increase atmospheric temperature.. just look at the 600 million year chart.. temperature increase(from sunspots) is what seems to increase CO2 in the atmosphere… not the other way around… watch The Great Global Warming Swindle and read State of Fear.. the reason the elitists are pushing global warming is to keep the 3rd world unindustrialized, “save the planet” is all propaganda

  • Rafael Castellanos Guevara

    In http://gas2.org/2009/01/15/top-10-electric-cars-coming-to-the-us-in-20092010/#respond you read about Zenn car “How Far: 250 Miles on one charge” and it mut say “How Far: 25 Miles on one charge”

    Thank you, very much…

  • Rafael Castellanos Guevara

    In http://gas2.org/2009/01/15/top-10-electric-cars-coming-to-the-us-in-20092010/#respond you read about Zenn car “How Far: 250 Miles on one charge” and it mut say “How Far: 25 Miles on one charge”

    Thank you, very much…

  • Nick Chambers

    Rafael,

    If you read closely, you’ll see that I said a ZENN powered by an EEStor unit. As of this point in time, ZENN, the company, has decided to stop making vehicles and EEStor has yet to develop a EESU capable of taking the vehicle 250 miles. So, given the actual situation you’re right, but, in the context of the description, you are wrong.

  • D Loughran

    You are all drinking kool-aid! Electric vehicles won’t be available in the U.S. for many years to come. And cars with a top speed of 45 mph in Texas would amount to suicide. The technology is not quite there yet, and it doesn’t seem the public or the manufacturers are supportive of the system.

  • D Loughran

    You are all drinking kool-aid! Electric vehicles won’t be available in the U.S. for many years to come. And cars with a top speed of 45 mph in Texas would amount to suicide. The technology is not quite there yet, and it doesn’t seem the public or the manufacturers are supportive of the system.

  • Marina

    This response is for caliguerrilla. With a nick name like that and an opinion like that you must be related to Chavez. What needs to be erradicated from this world more than anything else is ignorance. We really wish that global warming was a mith and that the pollution we are all causing was not true. Unfortunatelly brain washing does not work in the free world. Follow your own advice and read, read, read, stay informed and listen to the scientists not the politicians maybe you will become more open minded.

  • Marina

    This response is for caliguerrilla. With a nick name like that and an opinion like that you must be related to Chavez. What needs to be erradicated from this world more than anything else is ignorance. We really wish that global warming was a mith and that the pollution we are all causing was not true. Unfortunatelly brain washing does not work in the free world. Follow your own advice and read, read, read, stay informed and listen to the scientists not the politicians maybe you will become more open minded.

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