The Next Generation of Plug-in Vehicles

Chevy Volt

Chevrolet will begin deliveries of the gas-electric Volt compact in December in select cities including San Francisco, New York, and Washington. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the Volt's electric-only range at 35 miles, after which a gasoline engine provides power for 344 additional miles. The EPA says the plug-in, which General Motors (GM) will sell for about $41,000, will get the equivalent of 93 miles per gallon in electric-only mode and 60 mpg in combined gasoline-electric driving (with 33.7 kilowatt hours equaling the energy of a gallon of gasoline.)

Nissan Leaf

Nissan Motor will begin selling the all-electric Leaf hatchback in Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington State in December. The $32,780 Leaf is expected to run about 73 miles on a single charge, the EPA says. It takes seven hours to fully charge. The window sticker estimates the Leaf will get the equivalent of 99 mpg in combined highway and city driving. The U.S. offers as much as $7,500 in tax credits for the purchase of plug-in vehicles, and about a dozen states offer additional incentives.

Ford Focus

Ford Motor (F) has said that in late 2011 it will introduce a battery-powered Focus compact, its first all-electric passenger car, in 19 U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington. Ford is targeting the range at up to 100 miles; it has not yet released pricing details. Ford also plans to introduce three other hybrid vehicles in 2012 and later this year will sell the Transit Connect, a small, battery-powered commercial van.

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