2014 Nissan Leaf
The distinctive Leaf is the world's best-selling electric car, with more than 100,000 delivered as of early this year. Nissan has placed a bigger bet on battery electric cars than any other established automaker, and seems determined to make the Leaf work--though there have been hiccups aplenty in the process.
- How far you can go on electricity: 84 miles (EPA)
- List price (before any incentives): $29,830 (with delivery)
- Where you can buy it: Throughout the country
- How many have been sold/leased: 44,800 (as of Feb 28)
- The buzz on it: Does everything you expect a car to do, if you can live with range that varies from 50 to 90 miles depending on speed, temperature, driving style, and a host of other factors. The most popular and prevalent battery-electric car in the country.
2014 Tesla Model SEnlarge Photo
2014 Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S battery-electric luxury sport sedan is remarkable in any number of ways, from its performance (as low as 4.1 seconds from 0 to 60 mph) to the company's expanding network of DC fast-charging Supercharger locations that can recharge the car's battery to 80 percent in as little as 20 minutes. The Silicon Valley startup automaker has broken many rules of the auto industry, but it's succeeded in producing a car that's not just good but has won awards, delivered customer-satisfaction scores as high as any Consumer Reports had seen, and generally shaken up the global auto industry.
- How far you can go on electricity: 208 miles with 60-kWh battery, 265 miles with 85-kWh battery (EPA)
- List price (before any incentives): $69,900
- Where you can buy it: Tesla has showrooms in a number of states, while others have banned it at the behest of established dealerships. Buyers actually purchase the car online; the company then delivers it to their desired location.
- How many have been sold/leased: approximately 23,500 (as of Feb 28)
- The buzz on it: The fastest, sleekest, coolest, and simply best battery-electric vehicle on sale today.
2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production modelEnlarge Photo
2014 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid
When it went on sale in February 2012, the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid was the only competitor for the Chevy Volt. Both cars plugged in to run on battery power, with an engine to back up the battery and add range once it was depleted. The trusted Prius hybrid brand (and access to California's carpool lanes) gave it a boost early on, but with many more plug-in hybrids on the market now--every one of them with more electric range--its sales appear to have plateaued lately.
- How far you can go on electricity: 11 miles (EPA)
- Combined gas mileage on gasoline: 50 mpg (EPA)
- List price (before any incentives): $29,990
- Where you can buy it: Toyota dealers certified to
- How many have been sold/leased: 26,700 (as of Feb 28)
- The buzz on it: Lowest electric range of any plug-in, just 11 miles--and you have to baby it to keep it running on battery power even that long. Accelerate hard, and the engine switches on and howls in protest as this heavier Prius accelerates hard. On the other hand, 50 mpg when the battery is depleted is the best of any plug-in hybrid.