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Lots of little 'lectrics at the LA Auto Show (roundup)

CNET rounds up the biggest players in the small EV class at the 2012 LA Auto Show, most of which will be on public roads within months.


Take a look around the 2012 LA Auto Show and you'll see quite a few compact, fully-electric vehicles. Having spent much time creeping along at 20 mph on Los Angeles' gridlocked highways and stopping-and-going on its crowded streets this week, I can think of no better city to get excited about EVs.

We've rounded up the biggest players in this year's small EV class, many of which are currently available to consumers or will be sometime in 2013.

Chevrolet Spark EV

Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Chevrolet follows up its Volt with the smaller, simpler Spark EV. Based on the smallest model in Chevy's current lineup, the Spark EV is simpler than the Volt in that it uses purely electric power -- no gasoline range extender here. That omission will likely limit the EV to a city driving range of about 100 miles.

Fiat 500e

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Fiat showed off the electric-drive Fiat 500e at its LA Auto Show press conference. This little "Electric Orange" hatchback is powered by a 111-horsepower electric motor that twists its little front wheels to the tune of 147 pound-feet of torque. Expect a cruising range of 80 to 100 miles when it shows up at Fiat dealerships in the second quarter of 2013, but don't expect to see it at all unless you live in California -- the only state that will get the 500e during its initial, limited launch.

BMW i3

BMW i3 Coupe concept
Wayne Cunningham/CNET

BMW's i3, a new, dedicated electric-car concept, made the rounds of auto shows last year. To keep the momentum going ahead of the production launch, BMW rolled out a coupe version at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. BMW says this concept represents 80 percent of what we will see in the production version.

Honda Fit EV

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

With the spotlight placed on the 2013 Civic and Accord models, it'd be easy to overlook the Fit EV tucked off near the edge of Honda's booth -- it doesn't look much different from the gasoline Fit. But we've driven the 2013 Honda Fit EV and found that it's definitely worth a closer look.

Smart ForTwo electric and Smart ForJeremy

Josh Miller/CNET

Smart attempted to attract attention to its ForTwo Electric -- arguably the best version of the microcar -- by handing one over to fashion designer Jeremy Scott to make his own. The result is the Smart ForJeremy, which has been customized with a pair of dramatic wings that are sculpted to follow the contour of the ForTwo's Tridion safety cell. There's talk of this concept spawning an actual (but wingless) Jeremy Scott special edition of the ForTwo with unique wheels, and the white, chrome, and red color scheme.

Check out the rest of CNET's coverage of the 2012 LA Auto Show for everything from green cars to supercars, and don't miss our massive LA Auto Show mega gallery with over 60 photos of the best rides at the show.