Electric Car Buying Guide

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2011 Coda Sedan prototype - charging socket

2011 Coda Sedan prototype - charging socket

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We've been watching it roll closer for years, and now it's all but here: A new era of electric cars.

Just three or four months from now, the first highway-capable electric vehicles sold in volume by global automakers will appear in showrooms in California and other regions. By the end of 2011, they'll be followed by several more.

This is our guide to all the dozen electric cars (in several varieties) that are now on sale in the U.S. or that manufacturers have said they will launch within the coming 24 months.

Just to be clear, we're defining "electric vehicle" as one that has a high-voltage lithium-ion battery pack that plugs into the grid to recharge, and propels it purely on electric power for at least 10 miles.

The vehicle may or may not have a gasoline engine to provide additional range, in one of several configurations. As you'll see below, we've broken our guide into four parts, based on the projected dates when the vehicle will go on sale:

These dates, of course, may change at any time, though we're pretty confident on the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt.

NOTE: Prices shown are MSRP before any Federal tax credits or state and local incentives. 

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Comments (3)
  1. You know, it would be OK for electric car power ratings to be presented as Horsepower instead of KW. Just because it's electric doesn't mean it has to be presented that way. Any electric motor sold in the US is listed in HP, and that's what US buyers are used to seeing.

  2. @GSlippy: Thanks for the suggestion. I may go back and add horsepower in parentheses when I next revise the guide (this is probably going to be a longstanding & frequently updated piece).
    On the other hand, it's worth noting that the characteristics of automotive and electric-motor power output are different enough that it wouldn't hurt to start fresh with the universal measurement for electric power that everywhere else in the world uses ....

  3. Regarding HP ... yes, it is commonly used in North America. However, it is worth noting that there are ONLY 3 countries in the WORLD which have not embraced the metric system (kW) .... Liberia, Burma, and the United States !!
    I'm almost surprised you dont buy 100W lightbulbs in the U.S. that are 0.134 hp :-)

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