• Jan 1st 2010 at 4:42PM
  • 58

2010. For plug-in vehicles advocates, this is the year of many, many promises. As of today, there are only around 3,000 highway-capable electric vehicles from major automakers on U.S. roads. By this time 12 months from now, there should be many thousands more. Someday, we're pretty sure, plug-in cars will be as common as after-Christmas sales on December 27th, but for now we've culled a list of the cars that automakers have either announced will be making their market debut in 2010 somewhere in the world or, in some cases, will take a big step towards production status this year. In short, these are the cars that will make 2010 Year One of the new electric car era. We hope.

Follow the jump to check it out and let us know of your additions in the comments.

Aptera 2e

Aptera ended the year plagued with difficulties, but we're still dying to see these aerodynamic three-wheelers make it to the street in the hands of regular customers before too long. These are genre-defying rides, with their unique shape and all-electric propulsion system The passion that people already feel for this car means it wouldn't be all that crazy for the Aptera 2e to become a Prius for the early 21st century, where everyone knows what the car stands for – hyper-efficient mobility – even if they don't drive one (or like it).


Myers Motors Duo

With a top speed of 75 mph, a 60-mile range and a sticker price that could be as low as $22,495.50, there's a lot of potential in the new two-seat model from Myers Motors. Of course, with three wheels and a decidedly unusual shape coming from a relatively unknown automaker, the car also has a lot of hurdles to overcome to gain a lot of sales. We like the way the single-seat NMG drives, and expect the two-seater to also offer a similarly zippy ride. Whether or not the car does enter production in the fourth quarter of 2010, as Myers Motors president Dana Myers has promised, will be something we'll be watching closely this year.


Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Mitsubishi has been testing and selling the i-MiEV for a while, but 2010 is the year when the all-electric jellybean really takes off. Japanese buyers have been able to get one for months, and Europe is next on the list. Unfortunately, it's unclear when (or if) the U.S. will get a chance at the car, since exactly which EV Mitsubishi will bring here in 2011 hasn't been decided yet. In this category, we're also waiting for the Smart Ed, and Daimler is well along the path to production with that car – second-gen Smart Ed production kicked off in November – but the i-MiEV gets the nod on our list. Small, city-sensible electric vehicles are coming, but we'd like to see them available in more places sooner rather than later.


Coda Sedan

The Coda Sedan takes the futuristic power of an advanced all-electric powertrain and puts it in a car that looks like it could be straight out of 1995 (except for the grille-less hood). In a lot of ways, this is exactly what a mainstream EV should be: fairly normal looks, sensible price and solid but not outstanding performance. All with zero tailpipe emissions. The 0-60 speed is around 11 seconds, for example, but the immediate torque from the electric motor makes the prototype feel more aggressive than that sounds. Throw in a top speed of 80 mph and a range of 100 to 120 miles and you've got an appealing alternative vehicle here, especially with a targeted sales price of under $30,000 in California (after state and federal rebates). The first 2,000 units of the Coda sedan should make its way into customer and fleet hands in late 2010, with 20,000 more scheduled for 2011.


BYD e6

There are a lot of questions surrounding BYD's E6, but they should be answered once the car becomes available sometime in 2010. The E6 is supposed to go on sale in China in the early part of this year, with exports to places like the U.S. and Spain scheduled to follow after that. The questions result from BYD's history, including dismal sales figures for the company's plug-in hybrid F3DM and a moving target release date to bring the E6 to the U.S. We were supposed to get it in 2010, but now it's looking like 2011 at the earliest. Still, whatever happens in China this year will help us figure out if we should be impatiently waiting for the E6 again 12 months from now.


Think City

Like Aptera, 2009 was not the smoothest of years for Think, but it was an improvement over 2008. The company managed to get through bankruptcy, and needed to move production from Norway to Finland. But, as 2009 drew to a close, things started to look up, and the first of 2,300 outstanding orders City electric vehicle were fulfilled after production started up in November. Now that things are in place in Europe – Think's partner Valmet hopes to build around 4,600 City vehicles in 2010 – U.S. expansion is starting to look more realistic. The news we're hearing from Elkhart County, Indiana makes it look like that's where the electric car will be produced some day. Sadly, it might be 2013 when that day finally arrives. Until then, we'll be envious of our European friends.


Toyota PHEV Prius

Customers won't be able to buy a plug-in Prius in 2010, which feels like a slap in the face to those who see the other plug-in cars that will be available this year, considering how long the Prius has been blazing the trail for hybrids around the world. Toyota's expanded test program with this plugged-in version of its iconic hybrid will see around 500 prototypes enter test fleets soon, and these fleet tests tell us that things are still in motion at Toyota. But is the company moving too slowly? Real production of a PHEV Prius won't take place until 2012, and it's no big secret that the plug-in wars will be well-joined by then. Still, the Honda Insight was the first modern hybrid to market back in 1999, but that didn't transfer into Honda dominating the hybrid space. We know the PHEV Prius will be a serious contender once it becomes widely available a few years from now; we're just wondering what's taking so long.


Fisker Karma

Beautiful styling, sexy PHEV technology, solid automotive DNA. The Fisker Karma has got a lot going for it at the start of 2010. Of course, with only nine months left between now and when the first examples are supposed to hit the showrooms, there's one step we really wish Fisker would have taken by now: letting someone who's not royalty get behind the wheel. We've been trying to get behind the wheel for what seems like ages now – and we're not the only ones – but so far, no dice. Sure, there was that lap around Laguna Seca, but it'd be really nice to have some test drive reports, even early ones, by this time. Fisker has already delayed the introduction of the Karma, and it'll be a real shame to see 2010 come and go without customers getting their hands on one of these. A test drive would go a long way towards calming our worries and impatience. Fisker, you know how to get a hold of us.


Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf will be a game-changer. It is the first fully-electric car from a major automaker that will be sold to the American public (batteries leased) with a sticker price that is comparable to petroleum-powered vehicles. Whether this will be a game that many people will want to play is yet to be determined, but Nissan's strategy to target the EVangelists with the first-generation model and then slowly, over ten years, creep up to 5+ percent of the overall market makes a lot of sense. An electric car that can go 100 miles per charge, seats four and looks good – we're serious here – explains why excitement for the Leaf has been high since it was introduced. Considering all we've learned since then, we expect big things from this car in 2010.


Chevy Volt

Even with all of the other great plug-in contenders on this list, we aren't waiting for any car in quite the same way we've been waiting for the Chevy Volt. No car has gotten anything close to the same level of scrutiny, hype and attention as the Volt – with good reason. There's a compelling story here – clean green car sets out to save a country ... and the world – and some damn fine engineering. GM is betting big with the plug-in Volt, and we're getting closer and closer to the day where we can find out if it's all been worth it.

Not everyone who is interested in a Volt is going to buy one in 2010. For some, the $35,000 (estimated) price will be too high. For others, the 40 mile electric-only range won't be good enough. For many, though, it simply won't be available. After years of preparation and time in the media spotlight, GM will use a careful roll-out plan to bring the first Volts to market. By the end of 2011, we hope, everyone who's interested will be able to go down to the local dealer and buy one, but Job One is coming in November – and the next 10 months will be long indeed.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 58 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think the Fisker Karma looks cool, but I'm really interested in Ferrari's new hybrid electric powered car coming out this year:

      check out the story here:

      http://carinfo-juan.com/ferrari-building-a-hybrid-gaselectric-car/
      • 5 Years Ago
      "This is exactly what a mainstream EV should be: fairly normal looks, sensible price and solid but not outstanding performance."

      Wow,... I think it's misunderstood what makes something mainstream (& "normal" looking)--- It's the adoption by a large group of people, usually beginning with a small group of influential (who, BTW, don't usually consider themselves "influential) buyers who inspire a change in perception and, finally, acceptance.

      The Japanese are mainstream because they did the unthinkable in the 70s and 80s; They produced small, high quality, fun, feature-full, efficient small cars that attracted people that, really, might never have otherwise seen themselves buying such cars from relatively unknown companies in a country that, not long (only 30-40 years) before, had been in a vicious war with the U.S. The cars were not mainstream; They became mainstream.

      The Prius didn't become mainstream through "normal" styling; They actually became more offbeat (and, for some, off-putting, even) before they truly attracted people that might never have considered spending this kind of money on a non-Luxury compact car, much less one in which the driving experience is as mundane or, even, poor compared to the car from which they had come. Yes, Prius drives a lot like a normal car but, frankly, without knowing that it is an HEV, without the bias of knowing it's different, you could make the case that the driving experience has been the worst part of driving a Prius... yet, it's become one of the volume leaders in the Compact segment.

      No, the Coda represents a major failure, if only because it not only takes a "normal" tact but a significantly conservative approach in a market that will become even more crowded with significantly progressive approaches.
        • 5 Years Ago
        EPA interior volume, perhaps, but we (and, I bet, most car companies) consider this a compact.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "is's become one of the volume leaders in the Compact segment."
        The Prius is a mid-size car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I find Karma and Volt really exciting to me. Karma still has muscles being an EV where Volt looks like the regular cars but with a stunning design. I am not against Prius but I am not a fan of the design but practical. Aptera looks cute and MiEV is something I would vote for. I am only talking about design so far but I would like if the car could deliver 500 miles on a single charge and it has a gas option too to push further. An effective use of energy from sound, air, sun, radio waves, heat, Road etc would combine effective machine. The car also should have a fully equipped computer which is easy to upgrade and use applications as in iPhone or Google (I am a fan) that does a lot of good things. I am sure there are lots of talented and capable individuals working on it. Good luck and all the best to you all !!!!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I look forward to test all!
      Martin – http://www.easyEcar.com
      • 5 Years Ago
      None of the above -- I'm still waiting for the PHEV Toyota Rav4 (especially now that the gas versions are shrinking back down in body length).
      • 5 Years Ago
      and Tesla S, oh that's 2012....but close


      Ten Cars We're Impatiently Waiting For in 2010
      Autoblog Green lists the following plug-in cars it anticipates appearing in 2010:

      Aptera 2e
      Myers Motors Duo
      Mitsubishi i-MiEV
      Coda Sedan
      BYD e6
      Think City
      Toyota PHV Prius
      Fisker Karma
      Nissan Leaf
      Chevy Volt
      SOURCE: AUTOBLOG GREEN
      POST NO. 1017 DATED: 02 Jan 2010
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looking at these pictures, I'm reminded how much EVs are now starting to look normal - in a good way. Years ago, it was all crazy shapes and now, there's only two: Aptera & Myers.

      This is a good sign that things are finally coming together. This is going to be one hell of a year...
        ammca66564
        • 5 Years Ago
        You guys crack me up. There's only one car here that's really close to being an actually available real car (I put the kit cars to the side). And all you can do is criticize: it's too expensive, not enough range, etc., etc.

        Does it have something to do with the fact the Volt's from GM?
        • 5 Years Ago
        We need change and radical change, so 'crazy' is what is needed.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That eccentric look makes it hard to raise financing & brings additional hurdles that traditional-looking cars from other startups (ex: Tesla, Fisker, Coda) just don't have to deal with.

        As a technical guy myself, I just find it heartbreaking to see that they have spent all this time on something that would have had a much better chance as a 4 wheel normal-looking vehicle. History is littered with cool-looking cars that were ahead of their time.

        I don't think they will make it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Weird . . . that is exactly what I was going to post. It is cool to see 'normal' electric cars. I'm a fan of the Aptera . . . but these more normal EVs will greatly help the acceptance of electric cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree. I think Aptera 2e will actually take off because of its eccentric looks.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Definitely an improvement, though the Coda looks a bit like this: http://www.bobien.be/starwars/star_wars_the_clone_wars_03_1152.jpg
        • 5 Years Ago
        The only one that I want on that list is the Aptera.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It is at least on the road. i-MiEV and Coda are likely to be far lower ranges than advertised. Aptera shot itself in the foot by hiring a crook for a CFO. MMG will be selling at "kit car" levels at best.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm not feeling the love for anything with 3 wheels. When those things get hit, they're going to roll - and not in a good way....

      Is it just an illusion, or is that Aptera a lot wider than a regular car?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Rolling may be preferable to impact. I'd rather spin around in a few rolls than take a nasty side impact that hits my body. And the Aptera's shell is very strong and would protect you if you rolled. And yes, the front wheels of the Aptera are pretty wide . . . TO KEEP IT FROM ROLLING (in normal driving).
      • 5 Years Ago
      We are inventing a solar-powered generator that is 'way more efficient than current solar power and so may be usable to extend the range of electric cars. Watch for it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Leaf gets my vote as the one I'd most like to own in 2010. If they can stick to their promise that it will cost no more to own and operate than a comparable ICE vehicle it will be a milestone in the evolution of the electric car.

      We all drool over the Fisker Karma but at over 80 grand it's outside of most everyone's budget. Same goes for the Tesla S at $57k - outta my budget for sure.

      While I could make do with one of the 60 mile range models like the Myers (and I wouldn't mind driving one) the Leaf gets my vote because it seats 4, has 100 mile range and is still affordable on a middle class budget.

      jaguar6cy
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm sure everyone has noticed there is no mention of fule economy or comparisons. The hype is all on Green which is only a trend and current hot button to push marketing. Aptera is the only real interesting product.

      "The (Aptera) company adds that once the all-electric Typ-1 is in production and on the market, it will then roll out a plug-in hybrid Typ-1 that gets more than 300 miles per gallon of gasoline with a range of more than 600 miles before it needs a fill-up."

      This will have great appeal to anyone who dislikes supporting terrorists and doesn't mind saving money.
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