Green hybrid and electric cars are the big news at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which opens to the press on Wednesday, November 17th and to the public two days later. You’ve been hearing a lot about the extended-range plug-in hybrid-electric Chevrolet Volt, and all-electric Nissan Leaf. They are the headliners, for sure. But several other introductions will be making news, too.
Honda is introducing a new all-electric concept car, plus a new generation of its gas-hybrid technology that’s produced the Insight and the CR-Z sports coupe, the world’s first hybrid with a six-speed manual transmission. Honda president and CEO Takanobu Ita is hosting the news conference, which signals to us auto observers that something very big is being announced. It is unlikely the news will be that Honda is putting into production the 3R-C all-electric three-wheel vehicle shown at the Geneva Auto Show earlier in 2010.
Toyota is introducing a plug-in electric version of its popular RA4 SUV. The RAV4 EV concept uses lithium-ion battery technology from start-up Tesla, which is modifying the design to be more aerodynamic. Toyota has been testing prototypes of the car, which is scheduled to be introduced in 2012.
Mitsubishi is showing its i-MiEV, which is predicted to be one of the next electric vehicles to be available in North American dealerships.
California-based Coda Automotive is showing its mid-priced all-electric sedan, and luxury electric car maker Fisker Automotive is showing its first production model of the Fisker Karma. Both vehicles are expected to be in showrooms early in 2011.
And Atlanta-based Wheego is introducing its plug-in all-electric LiFe sub-compact car. It is the grown-up version of the Wheego Whip, which is classified as an NEV, or neighborhood electric vehicle, for streets and roads designated up to 35mph. The LiFe is the highway version, approved by the Feds after passing rigorous safety testing. It costs $32,995 — before a $7,500 Federal tax credit and whatever state credits there are where you live.