<p></p> <p>The long-heralded dawn of the all-electric car in the United States is finally here. Over the next few years, major auto companies and small car makers alike will be introducing new vehicles powered purely by electrons rather than fossil fuels.</p> <p>The rise of hybrid vehicles has helped prepare the American market for <a alt="((CONLINK|512|electric%20cars))" href="">electric cars</a> . Hybrids, which use a combo of gasoline and electricity, have made inroads over the last decade and now make up about two-and-a-half percent of the U.S. auto market, according to the Market Dashboard.</p> <p>But other than rare sightings of the $109,000 <a alt="((CONLINK|200|Tesla%20Roadster))" href="">Tesla Roadster</a> sports car, introduced in 2008, and some fleet vehicles, the national roadways have been almost entirely devoid of all-electric vehicles.</p> <p>With growing angst over gasoline prices, pollution and climate change – plus a boost from the federal government – the stage is now set for new vehicles that will never grace a gas pump.</p> <p>The <a alt="((CONLINK|372|surging%20green%20zeitgeist))" href="">surging green zeitgeist</a> of the last few decades would seem to favor the eventual establishment of electric vehicles domestically. To promote their development and adoption, the Obama administration has pledged $2.4 billion for research, and has extended tax credits ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 for plug-in electric vehicles.</p> <p>Here, then, are 10 all-electric vehicles slated for sale in the next few years that will likely change the way many of us fuel our everyday transportation.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Tesla Model S</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>When it arrives in 2012, the Model S will be the big brother to Tesla's two-seater Roadster. The sedan seats seven and has a range of 160, 230 or 300 miles (257, 370, 483 kilometers, respectively) per charge, depending on battery pack size. The Tesla S uses 120 or 240 volt outlets, and a special QuickCharge kit can reduce fill-up time to just 45 minutes. Instead of <a alt="((CONLINK|399|burning%20fossil%20fuels))" href="">burning fossil fuels</a> , electric cars typically get their juice from giant <a alt="((CONLINK|162|battery%20packs))" href="">battery packs</a> . Owners recharge their electric vehicle by plugging it into an outlet, the same as a cell phone or any other electronic device. Higher voltage outlets like those used for big appliances such as a dishwasher are recommended, and a number of dedicated electric vehicle charging stations for home garages are available.</p> <p>Despite its greater size compared to its sports car cousin, the sedan is still super speedy, zooming from zero to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) in 5.6 seconds. Tesla is currently taking reservations for the Model S, and the whip will sell for $49,900 after accounting for the $7,500 federal tax credit.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Nissan Leaf</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>The Nissan Leaf should be appearing in driveways later this year. This all-electric hatchback received its moniker because as "leaves purify the air in nature, so Nissan Leaf purifies mobility by taking emissions out of the driving experience," according to Nissan. A <a alt="((CONLINK|208|lithium-ion%20battery%20pack))" href="">lithium-ion battery pack</a> in combination with regenerative braking, which involves reclaiming energy expended when <a alt="((CONLINK|112|slowing%20the%20vehicle))" href="">slowing the vehicle</a> , should let drivers cover more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) per charge. A key feature on the Leaf is its IT-system that displays the "reachable" area given present battery power as well as the locations of future recharging stations that might offer high-voltage, quick recharges or battery swap-outs.</p> <p>Because filling up all the way on a typical 220 volt home outlet can often take six to eight hours for most electric vehicles including the Leaf, owners are advised to recharge their cars at night. Drawing enough power for a typical short trip to the store or work, say, can be done in just a few hours, though.</p> <p></p>


<p></p> <p></p> <p>California-based Coda Automotive hopes to start delivering its first all-electric sedans late this year after they go on sale online this summer. The Coda can go up to 80 miles per hour (129 kilometer per hour) with an average range of 90 to 120 miles (145 to 193 kilometers) per charge, a typical range for an electric vehicle. A full "tank" of <a alt="((CONLINK|212|electricity))" href="">electricity</a> costs a few dollars compared to the dozens of bucks it takes to fill a gas tank.</p> <p>A full nightly recharge from a 220 volt outlet for the Coda will take six hours, while a charge for a 40-mile commute would take as little as two hours. The car comes with all the creature comforts and safety features one would expect of a mass-market vehicle. There is no final word on the sales price as yet, but Coda said its vehicle will be comparably priced to other mid-sized sedans.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Ford Focus Electric</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>Slated for release in North America in late 2011, the Ford Focus Electric will be based largely on the current gas-powered version of the vehicle. Ford has not yet released photos of this model, and the above image is a prototype used for the Green Car Challenge on Jay Leno's short-lived 10 p.m. show that ran last fall and winter. As part of its ongoing "electrification strategy," <a alt="((CONLINK|176|Ford%20Motor%20Company))" href="">Ford Motor Company</a> will roll out four more electrified vehicles, including the pure battery-powered Ford Transit Connect Electric, a small commercial van, and three hybrid vehicles in the years ahead.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Volkswagen Up! Blue-E-Motion </strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>This alternatively fueled vehicle concept by Volkswagen has changes a lot over the years, both design-wise and in name. At present, a lithium-ion battery-powered vehicle is scheduled for a 2013 introduction overseas and possibly in the U.S. This V-dub would crank up in about five hours at a 220 volt outlet and get about 80 miles (129 kilometers) per charge. Its roof might be covered in solar cells to generate some more carbon-free energy. With intentional design allusions to VW's iconic Beetle, the German automaker has hopes that its Up! Blue-E-Motion could become the Beetle of the 21st century.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Mitsubishi i-MiEV</strong>

<p></p> <p></p> <p>Having sold over a thousand of its i-MiEVs in Japan already, Mitsubishi plans to bring the small all-electric car to Europe this summer and on to the U.S. in 2011. In a press release, the automaker said the i-MiEV will offer customers up to 75 miles  (121 kilometers) on one charge and a top speed of 81 miles per hour.  (130 kilometers per hour). Though compact, it will still have room enough for four large adults. The minicar's dimensions and extreme maneuverability make it an ideal form of transportation for the congested quarters of dense urban environments, Mitsubishi said.</p> <p></p>

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<p></p> <p><strong>Phoenix SUT</strong></p> <p>Phoenix Motorcars plans to manufacture an all-electric SUT (sport utility truck) that will feature a "revolutionary lithium titanate battery" that will allow the vehicle to travel over 100 miles (161 kilometers) on a single ten-minute charge with a special charging unit, according to the Calif.-based company's Web site. The company had originally planned to sell a sport utility vehicle as well, but that idea has been scrapped for now, said Dennis Hogan, CFO and COO of Phoenix Motorcars. Hogan said that further SUT details such as pricing and anticipated delivery dates will be announced in mid-July, appropriately enough at an event in Phoenix, Ariz.</p> <p></p>


<p></p> <p><strong>Lightning</strong></p> <p>Billed as the United Kingdom's first electric GT sports car, the Lightning is now available for pre-order. The vehicle is still somewhat in a developmental stage and its specs accordingly are not yet set in stone. The company's Web site said the vehicle will get its juice from 30 NanoSafe batteries made by Altairnano that last up to 12 years, rather than the three to five years of typical <a alt="((CONLINK|208|lithium-ion%20cells))" href="">lithium-ion cells</a> . A range of 188 miles (300 kilometers) is desired per charge, which will take anywhere from 10 minutes to 12 hours based on planned charging options. Pricing is not locked in yet either, but Lighting is aiming for ₤120,000, or nearly U.S. $180,000 for this luxury vehicle. Lightning has said it intends to make a left-hand drive version for the U.S. and other countries but has not announced when.</p> <p></p>


<p></p> <p><strong>TH!NK City</strong></p> <p>A 19-year history is behind this two-seater. After ups and downs and loans and ownership by Ford, a Norwegian company took the reins in 2006 and got the Th!nk City vehicle squarely into production. This small, yet highway-certified electric vehicle can reach 65 miles per hour (105 kilometers per hour). In the U.S., the vehicle will cost around $16,000 and might make it to dealerships in 2012.</p> <p></p>


<p></p> <p><strong>Mini E</strong></p> <p>An electrified version of the BMW Mini (better known as the Mini Cooper) has been field tested in Los Angeles and the <a alt="((CONLINK|459|New%20York%20City))" href="">New York City</a> metro area since June 2009. Other trials to assess the feasibility of the Mini E are ongoing in Europe. It's uncertain if BMW will eventually put the vehicle into mass production, but for now several hundred of these all-electric buggies are on U.S. roads.</p> <p>•    <a alt="((CONLINK|512|Toyota-Tesla%20Deal%20Adds%20Spark%20to%20Electric%20Car%20Industry%20))" href="">Toyota-Tesla Deal Adds Spark to Electric Car Industry </a> <br>•    <a alt="((CONLINK|635|Adults%20Text%20While%20Driving%20Just%20as%20Much%20as%20Teenagers%20))" href="">Adults Text While Driving Just as Much as Teenagers </a> <br>•    <a alt="((CONLINK|200|Coolest%20Vehicles%20You'll%20Never%20Get%20to%20Ride%20))" href="">Coolest Vehicles You'll Never Get to Ride </a> </p>

Zap: 10 All-Electric Vehicles Gearing Up to Hit the Streets