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Three Ways to Drive Electric


Can you live with a tailpipe? Chevy, Toyota, and Nissan offer different electric options

CHEVY VOLT

Approach: 149-hp electric drive unit runs 40 miles on a charge, then an 80-hp gas engine recharges battery.

Pros: Great acceleration and handling. No "range anxiety." Goes 350+ miles on a tank of gasoline.

Cons: Uses gasoline. In gas mode, averages a modest 37 mpg; tailpipe lowers green cred.

NISSAN LEAF

Approach: Pure all-battery electric, no gas backup.

Pros: Great acceleration and handling. No tailpipe, zero emissions. Up to 100 miles per charge.

Cons: Limited range. Running heater or A/C sucks power. Fewe public chargers for now.

TOYOTA PRIUS PLUG-IN

Approach: Drives 10 to 15 miles on a charge before gasoline-electric hybrid system kicks in.

Pros: Small battery weighs and costs less. Most cost-effective approach for next five years.

Cons: Requires frequent charging to produce best mileage and enviro benefit. not available until 2012.


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