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Rise of the EVs

After a modest beginning just two years ago, mass-market electric vehicles are gaining traction in a big way. Like all revolutionary new technologies, EVs were rolled out to a curious public not exactly sure what they were looking at, yet dazzled by the possibilities.

The plug-in Chevy Volt and all-electric Nissan Leaf were entirely new creatures, the first mass-market EV rides. But they’ve already been joined by a handful of exciting new models that showcase the appeal of EVs and offer us a hint of what’s just around the corner.

Not surprisingly, electric vehicles are fast seeping into mainstream consciousness. People today are more adaptable to new tech. (How many people owned smart phones five years ago?) Hot new toys can catch on quickly, especially when they promise to eliminate pricey petrol, as well as foul emissions.

Electric vehicles are poised for a real breakthrough. The Volt has already been updated for the 2013 model year, with an extended range of 38 miles in all-electric mode and three drive settings — Normal, Sport and Mountain — that optimize efficiency and performance.

Coming soon is a Toyota RAV4 EV crossover, Honda Fit EV and all-electric Porsche Panamera. Also waiting in the wings is the downright scary-looking Infiniti Emerge-E, sporting a pair of 198-horsepower rear-wheel engines.

For a taste of all that EV has to offer, let’s look at the new traffic on Electric Avenue.

Ford Focus Electric

This EV version of the redesigned 2012 Ford Focus compact hatchback — a pure electric car — can travel 100 miles on a full charge, Ford claims, powered by a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack designed to maximize range and battery life expectancy.


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