Hybrid Technologies has created a way for you to be kinder to the planet, save on gasoline, and look great doing it -- but it's going to cost you. The seven-year-old company out of Nevada is developing an electric Mini Cooper that uses lithium batteries and will be available next year for $59,000.

By now everyone realizes that environmental responsibility is going to cost us all a bit more. Still, it's hard to imagine how many folks will plunk down an extra $40K over the Mini Cooper's base price in order to maintain style points. The Hybrid Technologies site lists the Mini's range as 120+ miles, but Frank Ziegler, Hybrid's director of sales and distribution, apparently said it would be 160 miles. Assuming a gas price of $3 per gallon, no matter how you do the math, you'd have to keep the car for at least 14 years to recoup the additional investment.

Hybrid Technologies is dedicated to turning hot models into electric cars. In addition the the Mini, they sell a number of two- and four-wheeled vehicles, including an electric Smart that comes in at $49,000. Ziegler says, "People want cars that don't look like electric cars." True. But for the time being, only certain people with deep pockets will get the choice.

[Source: Wired]