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Buying & Leasing a Car

Electric Vehicles Get a Jump Start

See our slideshow:No Gas, Electric Cars

With gas prices subbornly above $3 a gallon, it’s not surprising that automakers are starting to think seriously about alternative- fuel vehicles. The next wave of green vehicles will be electric: either pure EVs (for electric vehicles) or so-called plug-in hybrids, which carry a gas engine for longer trips.

Why electric? There are no tailpipe emissions, and the cost to operate is as low as1 cent per mile, assuming you recharge at night when utility rates are off-peak.

GM has been talking about a plug-in hybrid for more than a year now (see the slide show) and so has Toyota. But while the world's two largest carmakers promise plug-in hybrids by 2010, a couple of Japanese carmakers look ready to deliver EVs before then.

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Electric cars aren’t new -- in fact, GM sold the EV1 in California in the 1990s. But the new EVs depend on the more versatile lithium-ion battery (the same kind of battery as in your cell phone).

For the latest crop of electric vehicles, see our slideshow:

No Gas, Electric Cars