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2012 electric vehicle preview: EVs are accelerating


The highlights to look forward to in the New Year

By Gavin Conway on December 31, 2011 10:00 AM

There’s a lot to look forward to in the coming year, not the least of which will be the arrival of a brace of new pure-electric cars in the UK. But the electrification of our motoring world isn’t just about pure-electrics – watch out for the arrival of advanced plug-in hybrids, as well as diesel/electric hybrids from the likes of Volvo and Peugeot.

And as more and more people opt for electric power, it’ll be fascinating to see how our nascent charging infrastructure develops. Will private-sector operators finally get serious traction, or will electric vehicle users discover that an overnight charge is pretty much all they need, as early trials have found?

Anyway, here are a few milestones to keep watch for.

JANUARY

The big noise this month is the Detroit Motor Show, where EVs will figure more prominently than ever before at the (usually freezing) Michigan show from January 9. On hand will be mainstream new hybrids such as BMW’s 5-Series ActiveHybrid, which can travel for two and a half miles in pure electric mode at speeds up to 37mph. But much more inspiring will be concepts like the Honda EV-STER and Toyota’s mysterious NS4 plug-in hybrid concept. Find our full show preview within the news section.

MARCH

The current £5,000 Plug-in Car Grant has been agreed until the end of March 2012. The subsidy scheme will be reviewed in January, but given that only a tiny fraction of the money earmarked for helping to support the grant has been used, we’d guess that the status quo will be maintained through 2012. But in politics – and this is a highly political issue – there are no guarantees.

The other major event this month is the Geneva Motor Show, which kicks off with the first press day on March 6th. Expect lots more groovy EVs, both production and concept. Nissan’s luxury brand Infiniti, for example, is likely to unveil a sexy new sports car with a range-extending electric powertrain.

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