Seven major manufacturers’ electric vehicles, the Nissan Leaf to Fisker Karma to Tesla Model S are currently in production or will soon be in production and available in the United States within two years.
The Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt are the two most well-known and extensively promoted electric vehicles, but the list also includes five additional cars — economical-based options to high-end sports machines.
Here’s an alphabetical synopsis of the seven electric vehicles:
Chevrolet Volt — Expected on the market nationwide in November, the Volt has two motors, a 149 horsepower electric motor and a 74 horsepower, 4-cylinder gas engine. The electric motor has a 40-mile range with the gas engine then engaging, creating electricity extending the Volt’s range to more than 300 miles.
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The Volt is a five-door hatchback that seats four. A full charge for the Volt’s battery will take eight hours from a standard 120V American outlet and three hours if a 240V outlet is used. Estimated Price: $41,000. Estimated mpg: 230.
Coda Sedan — Expected on the market, according to the manufacturer, in the “fourth quarter of 2010.” The Coda Sedan is the first vehicle from CODA Automotive Inc., a privately held American company in Santa Monica, California.
The Coda Sedan is a four-door, five-passenger car with a range of up to 120 miles on a single charge. The battery can be fully charged in six hours when plugged into a 220V charging station. Estimate price: $30,000 (after tax incentives). Estimated mpg: Not available.
Fisker Karma — With expected production scheduled to begin in February 2011, the Fisker Karma features an optional solar-paneled roof that helps charge the battery and also aids in the climate control system. The solar panel roof is estimated to provide an additional 4-5 miles a week, assuming continuously sunny days.
The electric motor has a range of 50 miles. Features include a sport hybrid mode, which uses the gasoline engine along with the electric engine and provides 100 miles per gallon and a 300-mile range. The Karma has a top speed of 125 mph and accelerates from 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds. Estimate price: $87,900. Estimated mpg: 100.
Nissan Leaf — Expected on the market in December with limited distribution and the nationwide in 2012. The Leaf is only available with an electric motor, with three charging levels and and a top speed of 87 mph.
Innovative features include a small solar panel mounted on the rear spoiler that can charge the auxiliary battery. The Leaf’s battery will have an 8-year 100,000 mile warranty. Estimate Price: $25,000. Estimate mpg: 367.
Smart Fortwo ED — Expected on the market in limited distribution (250 units) in October. The Fortwo ED will be available for $599 per month for 48 months and 37,282 miles. Daimler announced expanded U.S. sales will begin in January, 2012.
The Smart Fortwo ED, available as a three-door hatchback, has a battery that can be charged from 20 percent to 80 percent capacity with a 220V outlet in three hours. The Fortwo’s range is 84 miles and the top speed is 62 mph. Estimated price: $12,635 to $21,635. Estimated mpg: 300.
Tesla Model S — Expected on the market in 2012, the Tesla Model S is being marketed as a competitor to high performance sedans like the BMW 5 series with an estimated 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds. Estimated priced: $57,400 for the standard model with a 160-mile range and $65,000 for the premium model, which has better performance and a 300-mile range. Estimated mpg: N/A
Tesla Roadster — Currently available, the two-door roadster can reach 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds and has an estimated range of 250 miles on a single charge, although driving it at very high speeds will bring that range down significantly.
The Roadster uses a three-phase, four-pole electric motor that has 248 horsepower. A custom 240V charging system recharges the battery fully in 3.5 hours. Estimated price: $109,000. Estimated mpg: 135 miles.