7 New Electric Cars Available in 2011

Much anticipated electric cars are hitting showrooms this year, from the Nissan Leaf to the Chevy Volt, Coda, Think, Fisker Karma and more.

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Jim Motavalli
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Here Come the EVs

They're finally here! After years of anticipation, plans, promises and the occasional test drive, electric vehicles (EVs) arrived with a thump this week: Nissan delivered the first Leaf to a customer, Chevy put 350 Volts on trucks for delivery to dealers in several states, Mercedes handed over its first leased F-Cell hydrogen car (to the head of the Producers Guild of America) and Think opened its new Indiana factory with 15 City plug-ins for the state's Department of Natural Resources.

The new EVs are expensive, starting around $32,780 (the Leaf's price) and rising to $87,400 (the Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid). But the purchase price can be offset with a $7,500 federal income tax credit, and state rebates and tax credits. The most lucrative of those is a $5,000 rebate for California residents, and Tennessee (where the Leaf will be built) offers $2,500 for the first 1,000 cars. A list of subsidies by state is here, but it may be out of date in some instances -- you'll need to check locally.

Also available is a federal tax credit for installing a home charger. This will be 50% of the cost up to $2,000, but only up to December 31, 2010. Congress just extended the credit for a year, but now it's at "pre-stimulus" levels of 30% up to $1,000.