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.


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 A list of subsidies by state is here, but it may be out of date in some instances -- you'll need to check locally.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.