The Top Ten electric vehicles you can buy right now (for the most part)

I think all the news of the Tesla Roadster and the Chevy Volt that came out since last summer has reminded a lot of people that there are some serious contenders to the gasoline engine. The electric vehicle (EV) community certainly thinks 2006 was a good year for EVs. In fact, the past has seen some truly cool EVs, and the list of retired EVs is long and, for some, emotional: the EV1, the Ranger EV, the RAV4 EV and so on. But there should be no time for mourning and instead a look toward the future. Actually, we don't even need to guess what great EVs are coming down the pipe, there are already some wicked cool EVs available today. If you're ready to get off the gas in 2007, consider one of these, the Top Ten Electric Cars of 2007 (Aside from the Roadster, which certainly deserves the Number 1 spot, the list is in no real order).

Tesla Roadster - This car has reinvigorated the EV market like no other. While technically no one can buy it this year (all 100 vehicles that will be available later in 2007 have already been spoken for, I can't help but place it at No. 1. With a 0-60 time beneath four seconds and a look that makes you just want to hop in and drive, the Roadster (More)

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UEV Spyder - Universal Electric Vehicle's Spyder made an impressive debut at the Santa Monica Alt Car Expo last December, even though I heard a lot of people ask, "Is this the Tesla?" This EV will be available with different battery configurations at different price levels (some comparable to the Roadster). You don't hear so many people talk the Spyder up, but it seems to share many of the same qualities that make the Roadster so exciting: speed, zero emissions, and sports-car styling. (More)

Phoenix SUT – Yeah, it's expensive ($45,000), but EVs aren't cheap. Heck, retired Toyota RAV4 EVs regularly go for more than $50,000 on eBay, and the batteries in those things are old. Phoenix has been working with Altairnano Technologies on new batteries and is bringing this sports utility truck to market with better range than the RAV4 (but, admittedly, not as much size). Phoenix says they hope to sell 500 SUTs by the end of the year. Perhaps a better name will pump up sales. (More)

Miles ZX40 – While the Spyder and the Roadster don't really ask the driver to make any sacrifices (aside from in the bank account), EVs like those from Miles are not a replacement for a "standard" car, but a solid contender for second vehicle for certain families or individuals, or as a main vehicle for those who don't have to go very far. The Miles ZX40 is like a lot of NEVs – limited to a top speed of 25 mph, a range of around 50 miles per charge and a price of about $12,000-$20,000. (We don't actually know the price of the ZX40, but other NEVs are priced in this range). Another Miles model, the OR70, can go 35 mph. (More)

ZENN – Another player in the NEV field, ZENN's cars are "zero emission, no noise." Get it? ZENN. These NEVs have a lower range than Miles' offerings (only about 35 miles) and are a bit smaller, too. When I drove one in D.C. last year the battery was on its last legs and in need of a charge, but still drove well. The various options can add up to $2,500 to the $12,500 base price. But the most exciting part about ZENN's offerings are yet to come: the EESTOR ultra capacitor is still shrouded in mystery, but the potential is great for this new EV power source (as is the disappointment if the EESTOR doesn't live up to the hype). (More)

GEM e2 – Yes, they look funny. No, they can't go very far or very fast. But GEM electric vehicles have been available for years and the company has a wide range of models available (two through six seats, with or without a flatbed) and prices ($7,000-$12,500). GEMs are used around the country on various campuses, but models like the e2 are obviously targeted to home users. (More)

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Smart EV - Available in Switzerland and the UK, the tiny Smart EVs are zero-emission versions of their fossil-fuel drinking cousins. These cars share the easy-parking abilities and unique styling of the standard Smarts, but are only available in the fortwo configuration and only to "to blue chip companies who are happy to meet our requirements to power the cars using only renewable energy sources," says Smart UK. Conversions for your standard Smart are also available. (More)

Mullen L1X-75 – Some of our readers are skeptical of Hybrid Technologies, maker of the Mullen L1X-75, saying their press releases promise more than they can ever deliver. The L1X-75 certainly promises a lot - 100-mile range on a 4-6 hour charge - and this comes at a price ($125,000). Still, the sports car look will attract the eye of those you zip by, and I'd certainly give one a whirl. (More)

G-Wiz EV – available in the UK (and desired by Sir Elton John), the G-Wiz costs a little bit (£8,299 to £6,999) more than some of the short-range EVs in America, but you get something extra in England, too: exemption from certain taxes and London congestion charges and free parking in some areas. There are even free charging stations in some locations. (More)

Kurrent – A tiny and very distinctive-looking NEV, the Kurrent's price ($10,600) includes home delivery because, as American Electric Vehicle president Scott Thornton told AutoblogGreen, if AEV allowed the Kurrent to be sold at just any dealership, the customer might not be able to drive it home thanks to U.S. laws that restrict NEVs to roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or below. Lead-acid batteries deliver a range of about 40-mile range. (More)

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For Number 10, I cannot ignore all of the homemade EVs and converted EVs. People have been creating their own electric vehicles for year, and the trend continues. For examples, read more here, here and here.

There are more EVs available today, and if you feel I should've included any in this Top Ten list, add it yourself in the comments. Also, there are a lot of upcoming EVs to get excited about - Tesla's WhiteStar sedan, Zap!'s Lotus APX - so if you're sick of gassing up your car, consider going all-electric. They're not for everyone, but they might be perfect for you.

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