4 Awesome Electric Cars to Drive in 2012

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2011 Chevrolet Volt Production Show Car

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We are officially in the midst of an automobile revolution in 2012. The classic technology behind many of the world’s most popular cars is quickly being replaced by tech that is more environmentally-friendly, gas-friendly and wallet-friendly.

Electric cars are quickly becoming the norm across the globe, and, well, you don’t want to be left behind, do you? Any one of these 4 awesome electric cars will help propel you into the future of automobiles and help make sure you are among those most up to date with their car of choice.

2012 Nissan Leaf

Nissan‘s first 100% electric car, the Leaf literally does not require any gas whatsoever. It’s the greenest option on the market, and can go a range of 70-100 miles on a single charge.

The Leaf has a very futuristic exterior and a spacious interior that seats 5 passengers and has a hatchback with plenty of storage space. Crash test scores indicate that the Leaf has plenty of safety features to keep passengers comfortable and safe during the ride.

The car does take about 7-10 hours to charge a fully depleted battery, but with your purchase of one of these beauties, you get a home visit from a contractor who can help you determine how to install the necessary parts needed to properly charge your new whip.

On the interior, you get state of the art GPS technology in a beautifully installed dashboard and comfortable seating. Overall, the Leaf is a great buy for the money (estimated at a maximum of about $35,000), but is recommended to be considered as a second or third car in a household due to its limited range of about 70 miles on a charge.


2012 Chevy Volt

Another futuristically designed electric car, the 2012 Chevy Volt is actually a hybrid of sorts. It runs mainly on electricity until the battery is depleted, then it switches over to fuel power.

Since the car has to house both the battery unit and an engine, it does limit the interior space a bit, but there is still plenty of room for a driver and 3 passengers. And with a backup to the electric power, you never have to worry about range anxiety, as you may experience with a Leaf.

The other plus to the Volt is its handling. Drivers often say that the Volt handles like a Cadillac, with a quick response to acceleration and smooth steering. And at around $40,000, it’s a more practical choice for a green vehicle because it will give you a combined 50mpg when both electric and fuel power are taken into account.


2012 Mitsubishi i

Similar to the Nissan Leaf, the Mitsubishi i is another attempt at a fully electric vehicle with no fuel backup. It’s small and looks somewhat strange, like a matchbox car almost, but is actually surprisingly roomy inside, with the capacity to seat 4.

Again, similarly to the Leaf, a certain amount of range anxiety comes with the i. If you only have a half charged battery, it can be depleted in as few as 18 miles, so it’s somewhat impractical. That said, with a quick-charge battery option that only takes 30 minutes to charge the battery to 80%, if you plan a trip according to charging stations, you could make it work.

It’s one of the cheaper cars on the market at around $25,000, but again, it’s best suited as a second or third car meant to be used only for short trips, as it does have a limited electric range.


Toyota RAV4 EV

If you’re more of the type to prefer small SUVs over compact cars, the Toyota RAV4 electric vehicle will be the one for you! By the spring of 2012, this car is expected to be on the market at full force.

Featuring an electric mileage range of up to 100 miles, it provides less range anxiety than other vehicles such as the Leaf or the i. In addition, it’s another combination electric and fuel car, so it does have the backup fuel tank in case the battery depletes during a trip.

Toyota’s goal is to make the RAV4 EV drive exactly like a traditional RAV4, but the exterior does feature some changes. It’s not as futuristic-looking as some of the smaller electric vehicles, but instead it looks like a small SUV with some updated features and sleeker designs – plus, they don’t lose out on any cargo space with both the engine and the battery housings under the hood.

The only downside is this electric SUV will run you up about $50,000-$55,000 because it is the first of its type – an electric SUV. But if you prefer the size and look of an SUV over a car and want to go green with your automobile choice, the RAV4 EV will be your best bet.

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14 thoughts on “4 Awesome Electric Cars to Drive in 2012”

  1. The Nissan Leaf can charge in 4 to 5 hours on a 220 outlet and the Toyota Rav 4 is 100% Electric no gas back up

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for helping to put a spotlight on the cars. A couple of missing items:

    1. The Nissan Leaf also has quick-charge; it can do 80% in 25 minutes.

    2. As Joe noted, the RAV4 does not have gas. And they haven’t announced a price yet.

    3. Every family I know with a BEV like the Leaf or i uses it as their primary car, not their “second or third” car. You do want to have another gas car in the house for long trips, but you will quickly find yourself only driving the gas car when you really have to. Electric cars are smoother, quieter, more responsive, have gobs of low-end torque, and are much cheaper to operate. So every trip that you can use the electric for, you will. To avoid ever running out of juice or having to wait for a charge, just limit those trips to, say, 50 miles and take the gas car for longer trips. (After you’ve had the car for a while, you’ll learn more about how it operates, and on some trips you’ll be able to double that distance if you want).

    4. When you mentioned the prices, you neglected to mention incentives. They are all eligible for a $7500 federal tax credit; and many states have additional incentives. But the biggest deal is how much you save at the pump! US average savings if you switch from gas to electric is $125/month, so you can subtract that from your car payments (already not bad because of the incentives) and viola, you are now cost-competitive with much cheaper gas cars (even though they aren’t nearly as nice to drive).

  3. I would be tempted to put the Ford Focus EV in place of the Mitsubishi.

    I agree with Joe E Coyotee, the Nissan official charge time for a full charge are ‘worst case scenario’, reality is much closer to 4-5 hours even if no charge is left showing on the dash.

  4. What about TESLA?! They make the best EVs by far. They sell their drivetrain to Toyota for the Rav4 ev. Do your research!

  5. Great list of electric vehicles, despite the inaccuracies.
    Just as Chad said; anyone that drives a Nissan LEAF realizes that they are primary vehicles. I have over 12,000 miles after six months of ownership on my LEAF.


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