Is the EV market at a tipping point?

Could the introduction of more affordable electric vehicles to the consumer market push the EV industry to a tipping point?

With plug-in hybrids leading the way and a new wave of EVs hitting the streets earlier this month at the North American auto show in Los Angeles, the possibilities seem bright. Given their price point and performance, these new cars could jumpstart the more widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

The L.A. debuts

The Chevrolet Spark EV is an all-electric version of GM’s current mini car, offering a “20-plus” kilowatt-hour battery and fast charging onboard. The SAE combo system will produce an 80 percent charge in just 20 minutes. All of those electrons will flow to a 130 horsepower motor with 400 pound-feet of torque, only slightly less than the 420 pound-feet in a Camaro SS. The Spark EV will go on sale in California and Oregon in summer 2013, priced at $32,500, or right around $25,000 after Federal electric vehicle credit.

Staying in the micro-car segment, Smart showed off its recently priced ForTwo ED. At $25,000, or $17,500 after tax incentives, it is a reasonably priced alternative for urban dwellers or those without the need for a back seat.

Next page: The importance of inexpensive EVs