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US electric car market full of spark

The US market for all-electric cars is charging up, with plug-in vehicles rolling off US dealer lots despite much higher costs, battery fire scares and falling gasoline prices.
Plug-in cars racked up strong sales in the first six months of the year, automakers said, even with their tall sticker prices and lifetime operating costs up to $6,000 more than conventional gasoline-run vehicles.
General Motors reported it sold more of its $39,000 Chevrolet Volts in the first six months than it did in all of last year, with 1,760 of the cars delivered to buyers in June.
Toyota said it has sold over 4,300 of its all-electric version of the popular Prius hybrid since it launched the model in March — even though the plug-in Prius costs, at the $32,000 base price, a third more than the cheapest hybrid Prius.
Sales of Nissan’s $35,000 Leaf, one of the first to plumb American drivers’ desire for plug-ins, eased slightly amid higher competition and a change in distribution strategy, but still hit 3,148 units.
The drop owed mainly to the Leaf not having completed the move from its original Web-driven, built-to-order system to more of a traditional dealer-based model, said Nissan spokesman Brian Brockman.
At the high end of the auto market, sales of electrics are full of spark as well.
Fisker Automotive said it has sold more than 1,000 of its $105,000 luxury plug-in sports car, the Karma, since the start of the year.
And the waiting list for the Tesla Model S, billed as “the world’s first premium electric sedan,” numbered some 10,000 when it released the first cars on June 22. Reserving one of the cars — base price $50,000 — required a $5,000 deposit.
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