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USA: 2012 Detroit Auto Show electric vehicle preview

Our rundown of the hottest plug-in cars at the forthcoming NAIAS 2012

By Gavin Conway on December 28, 2011 5:14 PM

Aside from the usual gas-guzzling 4x4s, pickups and turbo-charged sedans (sorry, saloons), January’s 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit will also be flooded with hybrids from the likes of BMW, Mercedes, Acura, Honda and Volkswagen. That’s all taking us in the right direction, but unless it comes with a plug, we’re not going to spend too much time dwelling on it here.

So we’ve prepared a little pre-show teaser of some of the EVs coming to Detroit to whet your appetite. But crucially, make sure you check in with us nearer the January 9th launch of the show for even more detailed news of what’s coming.

Amp Electric Vehicles

American EV conversion company Amp will bring an electric Jeep Grand Cherokee to the Detroit auto show, and is expected to release final pricing and introduce its first dealer. Steve Burns, president of Amp, says it will be price-competitive with the Tesla Model S, an electric sedan that in base form is priced from $57,400 before a $7,500 federal tax credit. However, the 37-kilowatt-hour battery pack gives the vehicle a range of approximately 100 miles, so it’s not got the Model S’s range to match the price. Still, as an urban status symbol it could work.


The i3 concept heralds the upcoming pure-electric small hatchback BMW, which we should see in production form by 2013. Likewise, the i8 is the company’s plug-in hybrid supercar, also due out in 2013. Both have been familiar motorshow attendees throughout 2011, and are likely to make it to Detroit, too.

The fresher news, BMW tells us, is the 5-Series ActiveHybrid 5, which marries a turbocharged straight-six petrol engine with a 54hp electric motor for a system output of 340hp. That delivers 0-62mph in 5.9secs and a combined fuel consumption of up to 44.1mpg. It’s on sale in the UK early 2012.


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