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Future electric car roundup: Our most anticipated EVs of 2012 and beyond

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Plug-in hybrids

BMW i8

BMW i8

Starting life as the BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics, the BMW i8 is easily one of the most compelling and stylish electric cars entering production, and will slot alongside the i3 as part of BMW’s new i range of electric cars.

Unlike the i3, however, the i8 differentiates itself by being a plug-in hybrid and will utilize both an electric drive system consisting of a 96 kW electric motor located in the front axle, and a turbocharged, rear-mounted 1.5-liter three cylinder engine generating 220 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. Altogether, the i8 should churn out an impressive 349 hp.

BMW estimates that the production i8 will be able to make the dash from 0-60 mph in about 4.6 seconds, while max speed will be electronically limited to 160 mph. The BMW i8 will make use of a 7.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that allows for an all-electric range of 22 miles with an estimated fuel efficiency of 87 mpg. And in true German-engineering fashion — because of the battery packs strategic placement (giving the i8 an exceptionally low center of gravity) — BMW has achieved an optimal 50/50 equal weight distribution

Sadly, an official production date for the i8 has not been released, but all signs point to a 2014 release year with an estimated price point somewhere between $350,000 and $400,000. Unsurprisingly the ultimate driving machine doesn’t come cheap.

Cadillac ELR

Cadillac ELR

Like the BMW i8 and the Fisker Atlantic, the Cadillac ELR came into this word with another name: the Converj. And in similar fashion to the all-electric Infiniti LE, the ELR is General Motor’s attempt to exert itself on the growing electric car market with an electrified, plug-in Caddy.

Like the windy roads future ELRs will surely travel, the path to production hasn’t been a straight shot. After being well received upon its unveiling at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit , the Cadillac ELR (then Converj) was reportedly given the green light for production in 2010 only to be cancelled shortly after. Later it was “un-cancelled” after GM finally announced that the ELR would indeed go into production.

Production for the Cadillac ELR is said to begin late 2013 and will launch as a 2014 model. When it arrives, the ELR will share both the Volt’s Voltec powertrain and Delta II platform. Performance figures are likely to mirror the Volts, with slight enhancements expected to creep into various aspects of the car.

As you might imagine one aspect the Volt and ELR will not share are their respective prices. While the Volt retails around $40,000, the Cadillac ELR is expected to launch cost closer to $57,000, which astute EV enthusiast will note is the entry price for a Tesla Model S.

Fisker Atlantic

Fisker Atlantic

Originally known as “Project Nina,” the Fisker Atlantic is a plug-in hybrid concept in the same vane as the Fisker Karma, and will more than likely utilize the same “EV- ER” powertrain found in its bigger brother. Prior to its debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show, talk had already begun of a smaller sedan being worked on, and eventually produced, at the company’s Wilmington Delaware factory. That now seems rather unlikely due to a number of employees being let go at the location, and the difficulty Fisker has had securing government loans formerly awarded through the Department of Energy.

While details regarding availability and pricing have yet to be finalized – it’s rumored the Atlantic will price somewhere between $50,000 and $60,000 and feature a four-cylinder BMW engine — a quick glance at Fisker’s website shows the California start-up already taking $5,000 pre-orders for the Atlantic.

2013 Ford Fusion Energi

2013 Ford Fusion Energi

While most of the automakers on this list have looked to the future for inspiration on their various design languages, Ford has taken a different approach, both with the battery-powered 2012 Fusion Electric and its upcoming 2013 Ford Fusion Energi.

With the automotive world overwhelmingly wowed by the strikingly redesigned Fusion, the Dearborn-based automaker was simply not content with resting on its laurels, and instead has capitalized on the growing interest of the green car segment by introducing to the fray its very own plug-in hybrid version of its mid-sized showpiece.

Visually, the Fusion Energi is both engaging and dynamic with strong running lines along its body and the captivating Aston Martin-like grille shared it shares with the smaller Focus Electric. It’s anything but dull and helps the Fusion elevate itself above plug-in rivals like the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius.

Powering the Fusion Energi will be the same non-turbo 2-liter 4-cylinder found in the Fusion Hybrid, paired with a lithium-ion battery. Ford has remained tight-lipped over pricing and performance figures like its all-electric range or top speed, but we imagine it will fall in line with other similarly powered plug-ins.

The Fusion Energi is expected to arrive in the fall of 2012, with Ford proclaiming an estimate EPA rating of over 100 MPGe. For those keeping track — and Ford certainly is — that is over 8 MPGe more than the Chevrolet Volt and 13 MPGE more than the projected fuel efficiency of Toyota’s plug-in Prius. Ford is already touting it as the “world’s most efficient mid-sized sedan,” and if those figures remain, the 2013 Ford Fusion will easily be one of the most efficient care on the market.

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