Whether you’re itching to sign up for an electric vehicle field trial, hoping to buy one of the earliest plug-in models, or just want a heads-up on what models might soon be hitting U.S. roads, here’s a dozen models to have on your list.

Whether you’re itching to sign up for an electric vehicle field trial, hoping to buy one of the earliest plug-in models, or just want a heads up on what models you might see hitting showrooms and U.S. roads in the next couple years, here’s a dozen models to have on your list. Some of them will be available only in select markets or for a handful of fleets initially, but if all goes well (a big if), then this could mark the first trickle before a flood of plug-in models during the next decade.

What When Where How Much
BMW Concept ActiveE
- 4 seats
Limited leasing in 2011 U.S., EU TBA
BMW Mini-E
– 2 seats
Field trials underway; expanding 2010 Germany, U.S., UK, China $850/month lease
BYD e6
- 5 seats
Late 2010 Select U.S. markets initially, likely starting with Southern California, followed by San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Boston. Around $40,000
Coda Sedan
– 5 seats
Fall 2010 California initially, later expanding across U.S. $45,000
Fisker Karma
– 4 seats
September 2010 U.S., Canada, EU $87,900
Ford Focus
– 5 seats
Fleet trials underway; launch late 2011 North America, then EU TBA
GM Chevy Volt
– 5 seats)
November 2010 Select U.S. cities initially including San Francisco, CA, Washington, D.C., Around $40,000
Nissan LEAF
– 5 seats
Early reservations through May 15, 2010. Primary lead markets include Tennessee, California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona. $32,780, or $349/month lease with $1,999 down payment
Smart Fortwo ED
– 2 seats
Field trials underway; U.S. trials starting second half of 2010; 2012 series production. Select customers in Germany, Italy, Spain, England, France, Switzerland, U.S., Canada TBA. Gas version starts at $11,990
Think City
– 2 seats
Already available in EU; U.S. launch planned for 2010 Select U.S. cities initially, starting with New York City (LA, San Francisco, Chicago rank high on list of potential lead markets). About $28,690, plus $183/month for battery leasing if U.S. pricing is similar to pricing for Norway market
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
– 5 seats
Limited leasing underway Select fleets in Japan, EU and across the U.S., including universities, companies and governments in California, Colorado and Oregon. TBA. About $47,800 for demo fleet customers in Japan. 2010 Prius (hybrid, no plug) starts at $22,800
Ford Transit Connect
– Light commercial van
Late 2010 North America, then EU TBA. Gas version starts under $22,000

BEV = Battery Electric Vehicle; PHEV = Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle; EREV = Extended Range Electric Vehicle

Image courtesy of felixkramer’s photostream

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  1. Isn’t it true that research often shows that many of these hybrids and electric cars are actually worse for the environment?

    1. Josie Garthwaite Charles Tuesday, April 27, 2010

      Plug-in cars certainly don’t offer a silver bullet to solve climate change. Some studies have found, however, that even when plugging into a “dirty grid,” electric cars can result in fewer overall emissions than their gasoline-fueled counterparts because power plants burn coal more efficiently than cars burn gas, and can potentially be controlled more effectively. More on that here: http://earth2tech.com/2009/11/12/surprise-electric-cars-not-actually-zero-emission/

      And here: http://www.mckinsey.com/locations/greaterchina/mckonchina/reports/china_charges_electric.aspx

  2. What about Tesla? (teslamotors.com)

    1. Tesla plans to start deliveries for its Model S in 2012. The Roadster and Roadster Sport have been around long enough that I didn’t include them on this list of new/upcoming models.

  3. The Fisker Karma is an EREV, not a PHEV I think. It’s electrically driven, with a motor that generates electricity like the Volt, and doesn’t drive the wheels.

    Thanks for the summary info, we are waiting impatiently for a BEV, although the Tesla Model S is my current favorite design/spec, so we might have to wait a bit longer or run a Leaf for a while.

  4. Thanks Josie. Plug In America has a comprehensive list with photos at http://www.pluginamerica.org/vehicles/

    There’s a federal tax credit of $7,500 and further incentives available state by state (http://www.pluginamerica.org/state-incentives), so many of these cars should cost considerably less than some of the prices you have listed here.

    1. yes, these are the prices before incentives

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  6. @Adrian:

    The nomenclature has become confused because GM has introduced the E-REV moniker unnecessarily. The Volt is a series plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHV, the electric is really superfluous, so I don’t include it like most people). GM has tried to assert that PHVs don’t have all-electric capability, but there is nothing to support this assertion. GM wants the Volt to be treated like an EV by the EPA in their mileage assessment, and that is why they have muddied the waters with the E-REV term. But just to be clear: PHVs can and do have full all-electric capabilities, and so you can call the Volt and the Fisker Karma series PHVs.

    1. thanks Jeff

  7. What about Mitsubishi’s iMiEV? Reva?

  8. Nissan in “Crisis Mode,” Banking on Electric Cars Thursday, May 13, 2010

    [...] e6, Coda Automotive’s Coda sedan, Tesla’s Model S and General Motors’ Chevy Volt (see: 12 Plug-in Cars You Can Drive by 2011 and Electric Sedan [...]

  9. Nissan: LEAF, Like Other Electric Cars, Will Lose Money at First Monday, May 17, 2010

    [...] Coda Automotive’s Coda sedan, Tesla Motors’ Model S and General Motors’ Chevy Volt (see: 12 Plug-in Cars You Can Drive by 2011 and Electric Sedan [...]

  10. I made my 05 Prius into a PHEV50 with a lithium pack. We drive 30-40 miles pure electric and only have to buy gas on long trips. http://www.pluginsupply.com
    It was only about $12K and makes the prius so much better. The batteries may only last 10-12 years and will be 1/4 the price and 10x the energy by then.

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