It's also going to be one of the most depressing of all time too. Nearly every automaker in the world has been pinched hard by the economic downturn and is asking for help from their home governments.
The Roadster Sport from Tesla is essentially a souped-up version of the Tesla Roadster, the popular all-electric sports car that started shipping to customers in 2008. The Sport goes from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds, or slightly faster than the 3.9 second Roadster. It also has higher peak torque (for greater acceleration), adjustable dampers and anti-roll ba rs that can be tuned to the driver's preference. It costs $128,500, a few thousand more than the $109,000 Roadster, and starts shipping in June.
The Dodge Circuit EV, meanwhile, goes slightly the other way. It will go from zero to 60 in five seconds and do a quarter mile in 13 seconds. It will have a 150 to 200 mile driving range. That's all less than the Roadster. As a result, it's a good bet the Circuit EV, which also runs on lithium-ion batteries, will also cost less than the Roadster.
Chrysler says it will release an electric vehicle in 2010 and two in 2013 (it has other prototypes), but it's not touting prices or exact release times yet.
Interestingly, the Circuit EV is based around the Lotus Europa. The Roadster is based around the Lotus Elise. Lotus is also expected to come out with an electric car of its own.
Chrysler is also going to try to release a plug-in hybrid in 2010, but it is in the worst financial shape of Detroit's Big Three.
Tesla also reaffirmed that it will start shipping the Model S, the five-seat, all-electric sedan, in 2011. Tesla pushed it out from a late-2009/early-2010 release a few months ago. CEO Elon Musk in December said that Tesla may show off a working prototype around late February, give or take a couple of weeks. The Model S, he added, will sell for $57,499. After rebates and tax credits, that will bring the price of a Model S down to $49,999. Whether or not the price of batteries will drop enough to allow Tesla to hit that price remains to be seen.
The company further said that it has shipped 150 Roadsters and has a 1,100 person waiting list.
Other highlights to look for this week in Detroit: Fisker Automotive will show off the Karma S, a more sedan-like version of the $80,000 Karma coming later this year. The Karmas are plug-in hybrids in which a gas generator charges the battery when driving.