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Top 10 Electric Cars Most Likely to Succeed

This list is subject to periodic updates, of course, but this is how I see it now. I predict both the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf will sell in sufficient numbers to make them, if not runaway hits, at least modest successes. They have the greatest consumer awareness, the most utility, the best pricing and are supported by solid dealer and promotional bases. The Fisker Karma and the Tesla Model S are also likely to do well, though both will need to meet high quality and performance standards to stay afloat.

I’m bullish about the Ford Focus electric (which will benefit from the company’s strong reputation and marketing clout) and the BMW Megacity Vehicle (for the same reasons). Audi could do well with limited numbers of high-end performance-oriented electric and plug-in hybrid cars, as could Porsche. I especially like Daimler’s A-Class battery car, though it may not appear in the U.S. or become a regular commercial entry. Chrysler/Fiat’s 500 electric may also be a very small, image-burnishing program.

A number of other cars face a tougher time in the market. The Smart car has had a troubled run in the American marketplace, and its “electric drive” version hit the showrooms with a high lease price. A new version is coming, and with Mercedes alone in control it might be a huge improvement. Like Smart, Think (which just survived a near-death experience and now has a Russian owner) has an inherent two-seater limitation, plus a relatively high price. The new owner needs to lower the price, and maybe offer the battery pack in a separate lease offer.

Coda has many hurdles, from a high price to plain-Jane styling. Most of its original executives (including the high-flying CEO, Kevin Czinger) have left, and it’s on indefinite hiatus. Wheego’s ace in the hole is Mike McQuary’s can-do attitude and very low overhead, so it could make it with sales of a few thousand cars a year.

China’s BYD, which intends to import both a battery electric and a plug-in hybrid, has a good chance of making it in the U.S. if it keeps prices low, and brings quality, design and safety up to Western standards (big if). Aptera, well, that one requires a leap of faith. The company, which just returned deposits to customers, is highly dependent on a federal Department of Energy loan that is a bit of a longshot. But Aptera insists it’s still a viable enterprise. But isn’t that Aptera’s dashboard on the DOE home page?

My list is a snapshot in time, capturing a moment in a fast-moving terrain.

The 12 Worst Cars for the Environment
7 Car-Less Cities
5 Really Dumb Cars

Read more: Do Good, Life, Transportation

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+ add your own
1:18AM PST on Jan 28, 2013

Once the prices drop, there will obviously be the demand, and more charging points will appear in the city, then the air quality will benefit, roll on.

4:50PM PST on Jan 27, 2013


11:37PM PST on Jan 26, 2013

Thanks for sharing

11:13PM PST on Jan 26, 2013

Wish I had 1!!!

10:01AM PDT on May 23, 2012

Dear Friends,
Do not forget: electric cars will help clear the air and reduce greenhouse gases, if the power source from where we charge the batteries, is renewable.
Obviuosly,if we use oil or coal for power generation, we will not have climate benefits of electric cars!
Twitter @comewico‏!/CompleteMeal

2:53PM PDT on May 22, 2012

These cars are too expensive! I love my little new Prius C!

11:39PM PDT on Apr 6, 2012

I didn't see them on the list but the Phoenix Motorcars SUT or SUV and the Obvio 828 or 012 seem interesting.

8:17PM PST on Jan 9, 2012

The first Geo Metro I drove, a 2-door hatchback, got 55 mpg if I didn't go over 55 mph. I drove it 156000 miles at an over-all cost of 4.6 cents per mile, including purchase, gas, oil, tires and repairs. I have had others that got 52 mpg, 47 mpg, but nothing else comes close to the 4.6 cents per mile except my bicycle! --and horses, if they are mostly grazing and I ride a lot!

8:14PM PST on Dec 15, 2011

i wonder when they'll realise that Edison was right and a low-cost low-toxicity Nickel-Iron battery would be a far better choice than overpriced lithium systems? I agree that the bicycle - or even an electric-assist bicycle - will outperform electric or hybrid cars no matter what...

5:52PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

I think the old bicycle or newer trike has more efficiency

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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