2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production modelEnlarge Photo
It's really the defining feature of any plug-in electric car: How much electric range does it have?
The ever-helpful EPA, which has rated the gas mileage of all new cars, publishes its estimates of electric range for every plug-in car on the market.
So here's our list of all 2013 plug-in cars, with a few notes the EPA doesn't include, from lowest to highest.
PLUG-IN HYBRIDS and
2013 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid: 6 miles continuous, 11 miles total
The Toyota Prius hybrid, by this point, is an icon. The most popular car sold in California, it has expanded to a range of four vehicles, including a plug-in hybrid model that has the dubious honor of offering the least electric range of any car with a cord in the U.S. That didn't keep it from being the second best-selling electric car last year, however--due in part to the security of the Prius name.
2013 Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid: 13 miles*
While this rating hasn't yet appeared on the EPA website, we expect it to be confirmed soon. The plug-in Accord, which like many plug-in hybrids is sold only in a few states, is the first car to use Honda's new two-motor full hybrid system for larger cars (a conventional hybrid will follow later this year). It competes directly with the Ford Fusion Energi.
2013 Ford Fusion Energi: 21 miles
2013 Ford C-Max Energi: 21 miles
Both of Ford's plug-in hybrids use the same powertrain and are rated at 21 miles of electric range--which we found in our test drive to be at least 15 miles and potentially more, depending on how you drive and what speed you travel at. The C-Max is a five-door compact hatchback, the Fusion a four-door mid-size sedan.
2012 Fisker Karma: 33 miles
We're leaving the Fisker Karma in this list for the moment, although the company hasn't built any cars since last summer and is now working hard to find a savior or a buyer. Still, the Fisker Karma is one of only two range-extended electric cars on the market (along with the Volt) and it's a stunning and attention-grabbing machine--even if it's the least efficient plug-in car on the market.
2013 Chevrolet Volt, Catskill Mountains, Oct 2012Enlarge Photo
2013 Chevrolet Volt: 38 miles
The best-selling plug-in electric car on the market, the Chevy Volt is now in its third year on sale. For 2013, its rated range went up slightly from 35 to 38 miles. Its Voltec powertrain will also be used in next year's stunning and considerably pricier 2014 Cadillac ELR luxury electric coupe.
BATTERY ELECTRIC CARS
2013 Scion iQ EV: 38 miles
This one's barely even worth covering, since its minimal battery range is likely to mean it's effectively unsellable in the U.S. We expect the small handful of electric Scions to be dispensed to fleets for "testing" before they're quietly sent back to Japan after a decent interval.
2013 Mitsubishi i-MiEV: 62 miles
We're fond of the little Mitsubishi, the smallest five-door hatchback sold in the U.S. But while it was the first modern electric car to be sold globally in volume, its range of 62 miles falls below 50 miles if it's driven aggressively or you use lots of climate control. This year, i-MiEV incentives have soared--and so have sales. Great for around town.