9 EVs for 2012 @ 2011 LA Auto Show Family Car Cousins talk with Jeff Davis of CBS KFROG Radio

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Jeff Davis of CBS KFROG Radio: The 2011 Los Angeles International Auto Show has been going on recently at the LA Convention Center. We’re talking with the editors of GreenFamilyCar.com about the highlights of the show. Keith Turner is an automotive journalist based in Sacramento. He reviews vehicles for parenting publications across the country. Dean Adams Curtis is an instructor of the “Electric Vehicles and Infrastructure” course in the UCLA Extension Global Sustainability program. They are also both eldest sons of twin sisters, so they are also known as the “Family Car Cousins.” Guys, what was your overall take-away from this year’s LA auto show?

Dean Adams Curtis: At last year’s show, as you recall, the big green car news was the introduction to the market of the Chevy Volt electric car with gas assist and the Nissan Leaf. We’re very happy to report that a variety of other electric cars have been green lighted by various automakers.

Keith Turner: So we’re now giving our green light, our recommendation, that this is the year you ought to check out a green car option. This is especially true if you’re considering getting a second car for your family, or replacing an existing one.

Jeff: So what are the electric vehicle choices consumers have in 2012?

Dean: The BMW Active-E is a new electric vehicle available now in the company’s showrooms. As some of your listeners may recall, the BMW Group had a very successful test drive program for their Mini-E two years back, but they haven’t yet put the Mini-E into production.
BMW Active-E

Keith: We were also impressed by the electric sedan from CODA, a new car manufacturer. The CODA sedan has the highest range of the new 2012 electric vehicles. The CODA has a top range of 150 but realistically gets 130 on a charge.

Dean: That’s right. CODA, spelled C-O-D-A by the way, has sourced electric vehicle components from around the world
, but is putting their electric mid-sized sedan together in the U.S.A. right here in Los Angeles, California.

Keith: CODA opened their first showroom in the Century City Mall, where you can schedule a test drive of the CODA electric sedan for you and your family. One final detail about the CODA sedan, it offers the largest trunk size of any electric car.

Jeff: So that makes four EVs we’ve heard about so far, the Volt, the Leaf, the Active E and the CODA. Are there other electric vehicles our listeners should know about?

Keith: Mitsubishi has introduced the smallest electric car on the market, which they are now calling the “i" short for their MiEV.

Dean: I still haven’t discovered what that “i" stands for. Maybe Mitsubishi initial electric vehicle. Many people have seen the small Smart cars. The Mitsubishi “i” is roughly the same size, but it does have a back seat and fits four people fairly comfortably. The range of the MiEV is 112 MPGe and cost is just over $21,000.

Keith: MPGe -- that’s a new ranking system from the EPA that means Miles Per Gallon equivalent and measures the efficiency of electric/alternative energy vehicles, much like "miles per gallon."

Jeff: And I guess with the smaller size you get more range out of the Mitsubishi batteries?

Keith: That’s exactly right. You’re giving up interior space and trunk room in exchange for less weight, In all vehicles that correlates directly to better fuel efficiency.

Dean: Another exciting electric vehicle on display at the show that we were impressed by is the new Honda FiT EV that will be available from Honda dealerships by late fall of 2012. Honda tells us to expect a range of about 120 miles. It looks almost exactly like the current model FiTs, a model that has been a great success for Honda. Prices for the Fit EV start at $36,000.

Honda FiT EV will be available in late 2012
Ford Transit Connect Electric

Keith: In Ford’s “Electrified Vehicle Plan,” the Ford Transit Connect Electric will be available later in 2012. The Transit Connect Electric will be followed by the Focus Electric sedan -- a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle – and Ford’s next-generation hybrid technology coming in the near future.

Jeff: By my count, that’s eight (8) electric vehicles available now or by the end of 2012 -- is that right?

Dean: Correct. By then we will have Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Volt, the BMW Active E, and the Honda Fit EV . . .

Keith: And don’t forget the new electric Ford’s coming out: the Ford Focus electric and the Transit Connect Electric. Plus the Mitsubishi MiEV and of course, the all-new Coda electric sedan built right here in the LA area. It almost feels like the hybrids are taking a back seat to the electrics . 

Dean: Or the Way Back seat. It’s interesting to note that Ford is using the new term “Electrified Vehicles” to describe their EVs and hybrid, gas-electric vehicles. I thought it was a bit surprising that Toyota did not come out with an all-electric vehicle this year.

Keith: Maybe Toyota chose to keep the attention on their new family of Prius hybrids, which includes the plug-in Prius version and a small sporty hatchback Prius wagon called the Prius V.

Jeff: This all seems to be heading toward a cleaner, greener choice of vehicles on the market.

Dean: And that’s THE most important thing. Every automaker is focusing on creating cleaner and more fuel efficient vehicles now. It’s just too important to be ignored.

(Interview continues with Dean talking about the ninth and highest priced electric vehicle for 2012, the Tesla S, the sporty sedan pictured below.)




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