2014 Nissan LeafEnlarge Photo
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 VoltEnlarge Photo
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.
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 VoltEnlarge Photo
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.
2013 Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, Marin County, CA, Nov 2012Enlarge Photo
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.
2014 Ford Fusion EnergiEnlarge Photo
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.