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The 16 Plug-In Electric Cars You Can Buy (Or Can't) For 2014

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2014 Nissan Leaf

2014 Nissan Leaf

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Electric cars may still seem futuristic, but there are actually 16 different plug-in models you can buy today.

Availability depends a lot on where you live, though. Several of them are so-called compliance cars, offered only in California and a handful of other locations to meet that state's requirements for sales of zero-emission vehicles.

2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

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Others are more widely distributed, but are very low-volume, selling only a couple of hundred a month--or less.

Here's our rundown of all the plug-in electric cars you can buy today, both battery electric ("pure electric" cars) and plug-in hybrids (which have both the ability to run on battery power alone and an engine to provide more power and extend their range).

We've broken them into categories so you can understand which apply to you and may be available in your area.

HIGH-VOLUME

These six cars--two battery electrics, and four with both battery packs and combustion engines--represent the bulk of plug-in car sales in the U.S. this year. All of them have fairly wide distribution, and five of the six are from established carmakers.

But they differ enormously in size, range, body style, and personality. Here's our breakdown of stats and assessments.

2014 Chevrolet Volt

2014 Chevrolet Volt

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2014 Chevrolet Volt

The range-extended electric Chevy Volt will do all of its first 35 or so miles on electricity from its battery, then switch to its range extender--essentially a gasoline engine that turns a generator to power the electric motor that turns the front wheels--for another 300 miles or so.

  • How far you can go on electricity: 38 miles (EPA)
  • Combined gas mileage on gasoline: 37 mpg (EPA)
  • List price (before any incentives): $34,995
  • Where you can buy it: Throughout the country, though not from every Chevy dealer
  • How many have been sold/leased: 56,700 (as of Feb 28)
  • The buzz on it: Volts cover almost two-thirds of their total miles on grid power, not gasoline--meaning owners average one visit a month to the gas station. And it has the highest customer satisfaction ratings of any car General Motors has every offered.

2013 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, Marin County, CA, Nov 2012

2013 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, Marin County, CA, Nov 2012

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2014 Ford C-Max Energi

One of Ford's two Energi plug-in hybrids using identical powertrains, the C-Max Energi is a five-door compact hatchback that's built on many of the same underpinnings as the popular Focus compact sedan and hatchback.

  • How far you can go on electricity: 21 miles (EPA)
  • Combined gas mileage on gasoline: 43 mpg (EPA)
  • List price (before any incentives): $32,920
  • Where you can buy it: Ford dealers across the country certified to sell plug-in cars
  • How many have been sold/leased: 10,600 (as of Feb 28)
  • The buzz on it: Nice interior, stronger performance than the plug-in Prius, but the larger battery pack raises the cargo floor and impinges substantially on the rear load bay--making it less practical for family use than its C-Max Hybrid sibling, which has a lower cargo deck.

2014 Ford Fusion Energi

2014 Ford Fusion Energi

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2014 Ford Fusion Energi

One of three plug-in hybrids that look little different from their hybrid or gasoline counterparts, the Fusion Energi shares both its powertrain and the longest rated range with the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid hatchback.

  • How far you can go on electricity: 21 miles (EPA)
  • Combined gas mileage on gasoline: 43 mpg (EPA)
  • List price (before any incentives): $34,700
  • Where you can buy it: Ford dealers across the country certified to sell plug-in cars
  • How many have been sold/leased: 7,400 (as of Feb 28)
  • The buzz on it: Possibly the handsomest plug-in hybrid, the Fusion Energi is one that's gaining traction--now used by everyone from families to the New York Police Department.

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