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CNET On Cars: Top 5: Electric cars that are ready for primetime
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CNET On Cars: Top 5: Electric cars that are ready for primetime

3:57 /

The best electric cars that are far from pseudo-golf carts. These are ready to roll, from names you trust.

it wasnÃ?Â?t too long ago that if you owned an electric car, you probably lived in Florida, golfed a lot and no longer worked. My how things have changed. I am Brian Cooley with a Top 5 I probably couldnÃ?Â?t have done even a year ago. Top 5 electric cars from major manufacturers that are all ready for prime time. WeÃ?Â?re gonnaÃ?Â? rank these by my impressions, having driven 4 of the 5, and IÃ?Â?ll give you their range on a charge, MPGe (thatÃ?Â?s miles per gallon equivalent) and weÃ?Â?ll also tell you where they fit on the price scale. LetÃ?Â?s go. #5 The oddly named Mitsubishi iMIEV. Range: 62 | MPGe: 112. (MSRP: $29,975) This one barely makes the cut because I donÃ?Â?t know that American consumers will ever embrace the looks of this electric easter egg. ItÃ?Â?s also feels uncomfortably close to a golf cart inside. But it is fun to drive, like youÃ?Â?re perennially approach the 18th hole, and costs under $30 grand. And your rabbit will never complain about the headroom. #4 Smart electric drive. Range 87 | MPGe: 100 (MSRP: $25,000 est.) This is the newest car on the list, and will also be the cheapest with an MSRP of about $25,000. But IÃ?Â?m mostly excited about it as a sort of redemption: The Smart ForTwo should have always been an electric car: With the current a gas engine its one of the truly awful driving experiences in the world. This conversion may absolve many sins. #3 Nissan Leaf. Range: 73 | MPGe: 99 (MSRP: $35,200) The Leaf is the Prius of EVÃ?Â?s. Not in sales, certainly, but in its charmingly odd look, urban nature and strong execution. YouÃ?Â?ll be surprised by its luxurious drive manners, cool cabin tech and smartphone app. But I slot it at #3 because its looks are just too Barney and it lacks the fast charger we find in our #2 car... #2 which is the Ford Focus EV, #2 by a whisker ahead of the Leaf. Range: 76 | MPGe: 105 (MSRP: $39,200) Pushing 40 grand, it makes one say Ã?Â?For a Focus?Ã?Â? but the car looks great, leverages the underpinnings of a great compact car, has a sportier demeanor than the Leaf, and has a fast charge technology that can do full charge in 3-4 hours on a 240V outlet, that can mean hours less than its competitors. Before I get to #1, I can tell you it wonÃ?Â?t be the Chevy Volt or Fisker Karma. Those are not electric cars in the pure sense, they are range extender cars that use a combination of electricity and gasoline. IÃ?Â?d say thatÃ?Â?s separate list for another time, but there arenÃ?Â?t even 5 to rank. #1 Tesla Model S. Range: 140 | MPGe: 89 (MSRP: 57,400) And the first EV to win Car of the Year. It looks hot, goes like hell, has great range and can be optioned for 265 miles on a charge, and its 17Ã?Â? central cabin screen rewrites the rules of cabin tech. On the other hand, the Model S starts around $60 grand and if you want the 265 miler, thatÃ?Â?s about $80. And up. Still, this is the car that doesnÃ?Â?t just accomplish an electric conversion, but sets a new bar.

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