LOS ANGELES - At least a half-dozen electric vehicles will make news during the LA Auto Show Press Days on Nov. 17-18, according to event organizers.
The first electric cars to kick off the modern electric car era are the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, expected to arrive in November and December of this year, respectively.
Several other electric vehicles will debut at the LA Auto Show, including the North American production version of Mitsubishi's i-MiEV and Toyota's RAV4 EV concept. Expected to be one of the next electric vehicles to hit dealerships, the i-MiEV model debuting at the LA Show will be wider and will also include an upgraded list of standard and optional interior features to make it more attractive to the U.S. buyer. Toyota's RAV4 EV will use Tesla's lithium-ion battery packs, which will be modified to become more aerodynamic. Toyota has been testing prototypes of the car, which is scheduled to hit the market in 2012.
This drive toward the electrification of the automobile has also spawned new manufacturers focused exclusively on the electric vehicle market. At least two leaders in this category are expected to reveal important news at the show -- Santa Monica, Calif.-based Coda Automotive and luxury electric car maker Fisker Automotive. Both manufacturers are expected to make customer deliveries in 2011.
"After years of anticipation, electric vehicles are finally here," said Andy Fuzesi, LA Auto Show general manager. "It may take years for electric vehicles to be accepted broadly, but it's undeniable that an electric era has officially begun."
For the first time ever, the Green Car of the Year award nominees will feature electric vehicles. The focus of the Green Car of the Year award is to recognize significant environmental achievement in a production vehicle. Having electric vehicles qualify for the prestigious award is further evidence that the modern electric car era is finally beginning in earnest. The winner will once again be unveiled at an LA Auto Show press conference on Nov. 18.
Significant announcements about infrastructure are also expected at the show. Specifically, one of the region's major utility providers, Southern California Edison, will address important questions about the costs of operating this new generation of plug-in vehicles. Also, PEP charging stations will be on hand to demonstrate what is required for both in-home and commercial charging of electric vehicles.