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Electric vehicles approach the starting line

The electric RAV4 made by Tesla and Toyota will join an increasingly crowded field of electric vehicles. We take a look at the major models planned by large automakers and start-ups.

After being curiosities for decades, electric vehicles designed for everyday use are just around the corner.

Expect to start seeing more advertising for the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt as those cars come to market toward the end of this year and start of next. But there are many more electric cars under development from other major automakers and start-ups. See our photo gallery here.

Electric vehicles let you cut your oil addiction or, in the case of hybrids, scale back significantly. And, in general, they're fun to drive because they tend to have zippy, smooth acceleration.

But even with the excitement around electric cars, don't expect the trusty old internal combustion engine to die a quick death. The high cost of batteries and other electrical components will keep the prices for cars high for a while, and some consumers may not be willing to put up with the shorter range of all-electrics compared with hybrids.

Still, for those willing and able to go electric, the choices are growing--and within reach.