As consumer demand grows for more environmentally friendly vehicles, car manufacturers around the world are competing to be the biggest producer of electric vehicles. Nearly all of the well known manufacturers offer at least one electric or hybrid vehicle.
Nissan has reached a major milestone that puts it far beyond the rest of the pack. They were the first manufacturer to have more than 20,000 electrically powered cars driving in the United States. The Nissan Leaf relies only on battery power, unlike the flexible fuel vehicles from other companies. The battery charges quickly and the Leaf can travel about 100 miles on each charge.
Nissan may have the most cars on the road, but the Model S from Tesla has seen the most action. Drivers of this luxury electric car have put a total of more than 10 million miles on their vehicles. Various battery options allow you to travel between 160 and 300 miles on one charge.
General Motors is also entering the race with the Volt. This is a hybrid vehicle that uses electric power and gasoline in conjunction to give you 500 miles on each tank of fuel. The company is also working on their first fully electric model.
The Fit EV from Honda will be released in 2013. The new Blue Energy lithium-ion battery system supports the hybrid engine for maximum fuel efficiency. Honda plans to have a pure electric vehicle available by 2014.
Ford is another innovator in the field of electric cars. The company will have five different models available by the end of the year. The Focus Electric has been the top seller, with thousands on the road right now.
You don’t have to give up the idea of a luxurious sports car just to save money on fuel. The Karma from Fisker will travel up to 50 miles on electric power alone, then switches to the hybrid gasoline engine. Twin motors provide up to 403 horsepower on electricity alone.
The Mitsubishi has a range of 62 miles on a single charge and seats four. The compact size makes it easy to fit into any parking space and the low price tag puts this electric vehicle within the reach of many drivers.
Toyota continues to rank near the top of the list as the world’s biggest producer of hybrid vehicles. The company is also working to get at least one model that is purely electric on the road by the end of the year. The Prius has been adapted for electrical use, but it only has a 15-mile range.
A partnership between Smart and WattStation will put more than 300 fully electric vehicles into circulation through the Car2Go program in San Diego. City drivers can borrow these cars for short trips around town. The Smart Fortwo ED is popular with fleet companies looking for greener options, but there are still issues with engine power.
There will be more than 100 companies competing in the electric car market by the end of 2012. Any of the top 10 could dominate the industry, or one of the unknown manufacturers could come from behind and take over.
A big thank you to Louis Rix, automotive enthusiast who works for Netcars.com. For more information please visit http://www.netcars.com