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Five Electric Cars That Will Stretch Your Mileage

Cars With Superior Gas Mileage
Car technology has come a long way. In the fight to decrease dependency on oil and avoid high gas prices, more electric-powered cars are starting to make their way onto the scene. It’s now possible to get what’s referred to as an mpg equivalent of more than 100. That’s mostly due to drastic improvements in lithium-ion battery technology.
Lithium-ion batteries are able to produce more power in a smaller area than their nickel-metal-hydride counterparts, which are used in some hybrids such as the Prius. That gives vehicles with lithium-ion technology a significant increase in distance and speed.
Just like a gas-powered vehicle, you’ll need to fill up the tank, or in this case, charge the battery. Fuel capacity of electric cars is measured in kilowatt hours instead of gallons. The more kilowatt-hour capacity a battery has, the greater distance and power you’ll get.
Electric cars with lithium-ion technology get great fuel economy, but they also are notable in the acceleration and power departments. Here are five cars that will keep you away from the gas pump. We provide car prices according to manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or MSRP.
Ford Focus BEV
Mpg equivalent: 105 miles combined city and highway
MSRP: $39,200
Annual fuel cost: $600
Starting at $39,200, the 2012 Ford Focus BEV electric car dives down to $31,700 after a $7,500 federal tax credit. It’s available in California, New York and New Jersey, but its availability will expand to 19 markets by the end of 2012.
It has a 107-kilowatt electric drive motor, which utilizes chemical energy and gets its juice from a high-voltage, rechargeable, 23-kwh, liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery system. According to Environmental Protection Agency estimates, the electric engine allows the Focus to go 76 miles on a single charge. The EPA gives it an mpg equivalent rating of 110 miles for city, 99 miles for highway and 105 miles combined.
To boost the distance on a single charge, the Focus BEV uses a regenerative braking system, which captures and recycles more than 90% of the kinetic energy created when braking. It gets 141 horsepower and tops out at a speed of 84 miles per hour.
A 120-volt charger comes standard with the Focus BEV, which Ford estimates will take about 20 hours for a full charge. It takes four hours with the optional 240-volt charger. Other standard features include a single-speed transmission to handle the car’s high revolutions-per-minute, or rpm, range and a brake coach that helps the driver optimize the regenerative brake system.
Electronic stability control, remote keyless entry and an alarm system are standard safety features.
Nissan Leaf SL
Mpg equivalent: 99 miles combined city and highway
MSRP: $37,250
Annual fuel cost: $600
Alongside the Leaf SV electric car, Nissan introduced the higher level Leaf SL for 2012, starting at $37,250. It qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit.
The SV and SL models both use an 80-kilowatt electric motor, which jumps alive with a 24-kwh, lithium-ion battery system. The EPA estimates it will go 73 miles on a charge and gives it an mpg equivalent of 99 miles combined, 106 miles for city and 92 miles for highway. The engine puts out 107 horsepower and hits speeds up to 90 mph.
Due to upgraded features, the SL model costs an extra $2,050 over the SV model. The standard quick-charge port provides up to an 80% charge in less than 30 minutes at commercial charging stations. Otherwise, you’ll wait about 20 hours for the standard 120-volt trickle charger or seven hours with the 240-volt, home-charging station, which will cost about $2,000 to install.
The SL comes with a solar panel rear spoiler, a rearview camera monitor and automatic headlamps.
Both models use an aerodynamic design to reduce wind drag. Regenerative braking recycles kinetic energy back into the battery.



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