The 2011 Nissan Leaf
For all the hype over electric cars, no one from Detroit to Silicon Valley has managed to put a four-passenger, highway-legal, 100-percent electric car in showrooms, at any price. This year, however, Nissan unveiled the Leaf, which when it goes on sale next year will be the first mass-market pure-electric car.
It will be affordable, too, at an estimated $28,000 to $32,000 before the $7,500 federal clean-car tax break. Powered by lithium-ion batteries that charge from a standard wall outlet and an electric motor that produces a powerful 206 pound-feet of torque, the five-passenger hatchback promises a 100-mile-plus driving range, futuristic interior styling, a generous amount of cargo space, and the prospect of never visiting a gas station again.
Well, the TeslaMotors Roadster is a 2-passenger highway car, 900+ on the road here, and a few in Europe. Their Model S will be about $57,000 before federal breaks, etc., and carry 5+2 passengers, with up to 300 miles range. Slated for late 2011.
The Leaf may or may not come out next year, but will certainly be a hit as a commuter car if and when it does.