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Josh Miller/CNET

Five upstart electric cars

CNET Car Tech looks at five electric cars that compete with the established automotive companies.

Tesla Roadster
Tesla is the most successful new electric car company, and plans on launching a new model in 2012. Josh Miller/CNET

For many years, starting up an entirely new car company was prohibitively expensive, with little chance of competing with the established brands. Although it remains an expensive endeavor, interest in electric cars has reached such a peak that new car companies are cropping up. As the established companies scramble to develop electric vehicles, smaller and faster companies are putting product on the market.

We looked at these new companies and found five with competitive electric cars. For our criteria, the electric car had to be capable of freeway speeds, making them useful on all U.S. roads. Of these five, some, such as Tesla, already have products for sale, while others are planning launches in the near future.