It’s Electric (cars) - Boogie Woogie Woogie!

Nissan and others show off electric cars in LA

Electric Mini-E - Photo Courtesy of Edmunds.comIf the showroom floor of the LA Auto Show is any indication of what dealer show rooms will look like in the U.S. in a few years, we all better get ready to start plugging our cars in each night. Electricity has been the buzz word of choice at this prominent auto show as more and more automakers enter the race to give us the first mass-market electric car. Here’s a quick look at some of the contenders and their offerings in LA:

  • BMW’s Mini line. In a year when car sales in general are down, sales of the popular Mini Cooper have risen 30%. So, it was a great choice for BMW to focus on that when looking to make the leap to electric. The Mini E (not to be confused with Mini-Me), which looks just as cute and bubbly as the Mini Cooper, has a 156 mile range (running on just electricity). BMW plans to lease 500 Mini Es in Los Angeles and New York next year to get some real world use and tease the public. The price for the lease is a little steep at $850 per month, but no doubt BMW won’t have any problem finding 500 takers! (photo above)
  • Unnamed Nissan Electric - photo from LATimes.comNissan-Renault. One of the more mysterious electric cars, Nissan-Renault’s show area boasted of a 100-mile range electric car that would be available in the US by 2010. The car, which has no name or model available for the public, would be priced competitively with Chevy’s highly-anticipated electric car, the Volt, at $40,000.The company plans to begin releasing the car to government fleets, utilities, and local corporations in Oregon in 2010, with the car hitting mass-production in 2012. Not only would the car’s electric power be unusual, but the purchase arrangement would be, too. Buyers would buy the car, but lease the battery – allowing for upgrades and proper disposal of toxic substances.
  • Chrysler Electric MiniVanChrysler. The American automaker unveiled plans for electric versions of the Town and Country minivan, Jeep Wrangler and a Dodge sports car. Wouldn’t be ironic (assuming Chrysler stays afloat) for an all-electric minivan to reach the U.S. before a hybrid minivan? I guess we will see.

With more companies competing to create a long-range electric vehicle, I know it won’t be too long before they hit our streets. The question is: who will it be and what will they cost?

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