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Major Car Manufacturers Prepare for Electric Transition


Josh Schellenberg Published: 01 September 2009 9:04 PM UTCPosted in: Electric VehiclesTags: Electric Vehicles

Whether they admit it or not, major car manufacturers are preparing for the inevitable transition to electric vehicles in the United States.  The charging infrastructure will take a while to develop, but when it does, these companies want to have strong electric vehicle brands in place.

Even luxury brands BMW and Mercedes are aggressively preparing.  BMW touts clean diesel for its luxury cars, but through its MINI brand it has begun field testing an electric model called the MINI E. Daimler (manufacturer of Mercedes) is using its Smart brand to develop an electric model called the Smart ED.  These companies have learned from the lack of success of luxury hybrid vehicles and are developing electric vehicles through their subcompact vehicle brands.

The table below lists the top 15 car manufacturers in the U.S. by number of vehicles sold in 2009.  Of the 15 companies, 11 have already identified specific electric vehicle models that will be coming out in the next few years.  Five have manufacturer’s websites dedicated to these models.  The biggest question mark is Honda, which has yet to release information on a specific electric vehicle model.  Considering how its competitors are preparing, it would not be surprising if Honda came out with some news relatively soon.

Take a look at the manufacturers’ websites.  The Nissan Leaf looks really cool.  The MINI E and Smart ED look just like the ones that you see on the road today.  Some people say that the Chevy Volt looks just like a Malibu, but others claim that it was modeled after the Prius.  Which one would you be interested in?

Car Manufacturers Ranked by Number of Vehicles Sold in the U.S. in 2009

Rank Manufacturer Model Manufacturer’s Website?
1 General Motors Chevy Volt Yes
2 Toyota Prius
3 Ford Various models
4 Chrysler Various models
5 Honda ?
6 Nissan Leaf Yes
7 Hyundai Blue-Will
8 Volkswagen Golf Twin-Drive
9 BMW Mini-E Yes
10 Kia ?
11 Mazda ?
12 Daimler Smart ED Yes
13 Subaru R1e
14 Suzuki ?
15 Mitsubishi iMiev Yes