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Electric cars you can buy, soon (photos)

For years, announcements about potential electric cars have been trickling out of automakers. But now hard dates are coming out for when these vehicles will be available to the public. See the electric cars that will be on the road in the next two years.

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Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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1 of 14 Josh Miller/CNET

Tesla Roadster

The two-seat Roadster offers minimal cargo room. Although pricey at more than $100,000, the car boasts a range of 245 miles.

Availability: March 2008*

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*Tesla will cease production of the Roadster in 2012.

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2 of 14 Martin LaMonica/CNET

Mini-E

For a test fleet, Mini fitted its Cooper with an electric drivetrain. The battery pack takes up the entire rear seat space, leaving the car a two-seater. The Mini-E has a range of about 100 miles.

Availability: June 2009*

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*Mini leased the Mini-E to private customers for a price of $850 a month, but has not announced retail sales plans.

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3 of 14 Josh Miller/CNET

Nissan Leaf

Nissan became the first major automaker to sell a mass-production electric car with the Leaf. This five-seater offers plenty of cargo space and has a range of about 100 miles. It sells for $32,780.

Availability: December 2010

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4 of 14 Martin LaMonica/CNET

Think City

Although a Norwegian company, Think is building some of its Think City electric cars in Indiana. The four-seat car has a top speed of 60 mph and can get about 100 miles with its lithium ion battery pack.

Availability: July 2011

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5 of 14 James Martin/CNET

Ford Focus Electric

Ford announced the 2012 Focus Electric at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show. Using the same body as the standard Focus, this car seats five and has ample cargo space. Range is about 100 miles, and Ford touts a recharge time of 3 hours.

Availability: Q4 2011

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6 of 14 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Mitsubishi i-Miev

Mitsubishi has been testing the i-Miev in different private fleets since 2010, and already offers the car in Japan. The U.S. version offers seating for four and a moderate amount of cargo space. Range is about 100 miles. Mitsubishi expects to sell the i-Miev for less than $30,000.

Availability: November 2011

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7 of 14 Coda

Coda Sedan

Coda is a start-up company that plans a mass-production electric car. The Coda Sedan seats five and has a range of about 100 miles. Coda plans to sell its sedan for $44,900.

Availability: Q3 2011

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8 of 14 CNET

Smart Electric Drive

Like its gasoline-powered counterpart, the Smart Electric Drive is a two-seater with a moderate amount of cargo space. The car has a top speed of 60 mph and a range of 63 miles. Smart has been testing the car in fleets, and plans retail production sometime next year.

Availability: 2012

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9 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET

Tesla Model S

The Model S features what Tesla calls 5+2 seating, with five full-size seats and two jump seats in back. Tesla boasts ample cargo space and a range of 300 miles. Top speed is 120 mph. Tesla has mentioned a price of $56,400 for the Model S.

Availability: 2012

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10 of 14 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Toyota Rav4 EV

Through a partnership with Tesla, Toyota built this electric car based on its Rav4 small SUV. The car seats five, and Toyota says the interior space is exactly the same as with a gasoline-powered Rav4. Range is about 100 miles.

Availability: 2012

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11 of 14 Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Honda Fit EV

The Fit EV uses the same interior layout as the current gasoline Fit, with room for five people and some cargo. Range is expected to top out at 100 miles.

Availability: 2012

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12 of 14 Josh Miller/CNET

Mazda Demio Electric

Mazda announced that it would build an electric vehicle based on its Demio small car, known as the Mazda2 in the U.S. Mazda has not announced a sale date yet but says it will lease the car in Japan in the spring of next year.

Availability: spring 2012 (lease)

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13 of 14 Volkswagen

Volkswagen Blue e-motion

The Blue e-motion is based on the Volkswagen Golf. It offers the same five-seat configuration, but the cargo area is compromised by the battery. Range is expected to be about 100 miles.

Availability: 2013

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14 of 14 Sarah Tew/CNET

Volvo C30 DRIVe

Although Volvo has outlined some production details for the electric C30, such as batteries sourced from Enerdel in Indiana, the company has not yet announced a sale date for the car.

Availability: None announced

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