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Seven electric cars soon plugged into U.S. automotive industry

Seven electric cars soon plugged into U.S. automotive industry 1Seven 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.

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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.

Seven electric cars soon plugged into U.S. automotive industry 2
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.

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