This is going to the year of the electric vehicle (EV) in Canada.
Of course, the first customers for the Chevrolet Volt, an extended range electric car, and the Nissan LEAF, a battery-only EV, are taking delivery now in the United States. But Canadians will get their change later this year, most likely starting in the summer or early fall.
Here's what's shocking: the green-car conversation here does not start with Toyota, but instead revolves around General Motors and Nissan. Where once Toyota owned the green car space, now there is competition and more coming.
Where the EV story will go is anyone's guess, however. But you can be certain we'll soon hear stories of early adopters grappling with claiming their subsidies and government rebates, while also managing home-charging docks and range anxiety.
Beyond Chevy and Nissan, EVs of various sorts are coming from Ford, Toyota, Honda and more. The EV parade starts with these big auto makers, but it also includes small EV start-ups like Fisker and Tesla. Will these upstarts find success taking on big, international auto makers? How will they compete against established car companies with vast resources in engineering, marketing, sales and service?
Then we have the unexpected EV makers. Prestige car companies such as Porsche, Mercedes, Ferrari, Jaguar, Audi and more are all now fully charged up with electric car one-upmanship. From every one of these companies we've seen either fully electric or hybrid models; many are destined for showrooms.
Yes, 2011 will be the year when we learn a lot about the reality of electric cars.