The era of the modern electric car essentially began in December 2010, when the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt first went on sale.

Yet some people have been driving electric cars much longer than that.

In honor of its own 10th anniversary, electric-car advocacy group Plug-In America has compiled a list of 10 electric car "pioneers."

DON'T MISS: Four Years And 70,000 Miles Later, 2011 Nissan Leaf Going Strong

Each of the owners listed has been driving a highway-capable, production electric car for at least a decade.

All of them live in California, where production electric cars first became available.

The state's zero-emission vehicle mandate required automakers to sell electric cars within California borders long before they were considered for sale nationwide.

1997 Honda EV Plus

1997 Honda EV Plus

Those early "compliance cars"--including the Ford EVcort, Honda EV Plus, and first-generation Toyota RAV4 EV--are how most of the owners on this list started their years of electric motoring.

A few also leased the two-door General Motors EV1--which has since become infamous as the main subject of the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?

RELATED: GM EV1 & Tesla Model S: Looking At 20 Years Of Electric Cars (Oct 2013)

Since then, the "Ten for Ten" drivers have moved on to more modern cars, such as the Leaf, Volt, Tesla Model S, and the recently-discontinued second-generation RAV4 EV.

Environmental concerns motivated many electric-car early adopters, and today about half charge their cars using electricity from renewable sources, says Plug-In America.

2002 Toyota RAV4 EV on eBay. Image: Plug In America

2002 Toyota RAV4 EV on eBay. Image: Plug In America

Wider availability of that option is just one benefit that's come with growing awareness of electric cars over the past decade.

While sales numbers are still tiny compared to internal-combustion cars, plug-ins have moved away from the fringe.

CHECK OUT: National Drive Electric Week: 150 Cities, 90,000 People, Electric Cars All Over (Sep 2014)

They now enjoy genuine support from governments, manufacturers, as well as their enthusiastic owners.

That--along with stricter fuel-efficiency standards--has pushed the number of electric cars on U.S. roads from around 800 a decade ago to over 300,000 today, according to Plug-in America.


Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.