The eco-friendly motoring landscape in the U.S. is about to change as The Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt hit the streets. While these two vehicles may be the start of a new automotive trend in our nation, other automakers are preparing for electric vehicle (EV) releases in 2012 and beyond. One of the EVs with a planned release in the coming years is the BMW MegaCity Vehicle. BMW’s first all-electric vehicle is expected to hit dealers nationwide in 2013, but 2011 will be an important year for this futuristic EV. BMW will launch the ActiveE field trial in 2011 in select markets including New York City; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Boston; San Diego; Sacramento, CA; and several parts of Connecticut.

An artist's rendering of the BMW MegaCity. Image courtesy of BMW.
The data gathered during the BMW ActiveE field trial will be combined with the information obtained by BMW during the MINI E pilot project to help develop the BMW MegaCity Vehicle. BMW is taking a slow and steady approach to releasing its first production-level EV, but by the time the MegaCity Vehicle hits the streets, BMW will have years of real-world EV experience under its belt. Ford is also working on launching an EV: the 2012 Ford Focus Electric. The initial release of the Ford Focus Electric, which may come as soon as late 2011, will also be limited to select markets. However, Ford is going beyond simply East and West Coast metropolises and offering its new EV in the following cities: Atlanta; New York City; Detroit; Los Angeles; San Diego; San Francisco; Chicago; Seattle; Boston; Denver; Phoenix; Houston; Austin, TX; Orlando, FL; Washington, DC; Portland; Raleigh-Durham, NC; Richmond, VA; and Tucson, AZ. Eventually, the Ford Focus Electric will be available nationwide. Luxury automaker Infiniti is also developing on an as-of-yet unnamed electric vehicle. The luxury division of Nissan will be introducing its first Infiniti-branded hybrid vehicle in 2011, the Infiniti M35h sedan. From there the company plans to bring an all-electric vehicle to market in 2013. Although green motoring enthusiasts will have new options in 2011, the year may go down in history as the start of a new generation of eco-friendly vehicles. Look for several domestic and foreign automakers to be busy preparing plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles for release in 2012 and beyond.