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Electric Cars: More Models, Cheaper Prices Coming in 2013

The electric car has already gone through so much—from being pumped up as a game changer to all but being declared a flop—that it’s easy to forget the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf have only been widely available to the public since 2011.

Even as sales for these two plug-in pioneers have fallen well short of projections, automakers aren’t giving up on electric cars. What’s more, as more new-model EVs hit the market, the entire segment should have more appeal for drivers. Reporting from the Los Angeles Auto Show a couple of weeks ago, the Los Angeles Times noted:

Don’t be surprised to see a decline in electric car prices over the next several months.

Prices drops are the expected result of increased competition from the likes of the Chevy Spark EV and the Fiat 500e, both newly introduced subcompact electric cars that generated plenty of attention (from the Wall Street Journal, for one) at the auto show. The electric version of the Spark should retail for around $25,000 next summer (in California and Oregon) after rebates are factored in, making it among the cheapest EV options on the market. More EV batteries are also being produced, which should bring down their cost and also improve the number of miles drivers can eke out per charge.

(MORE: Top Cars of 2013)

So in the near future, there will be more electric cars on the market, and they’ll be more affordable and practical. But will that be enough? Will the tweaks help push EVs beyond their niche status and give them true mass market appeal? While we’ll have to wait and see, by most indications, it’s going to be a long time before electric cars attract a broad swath of consumers.

Drivers who love their plug-in vehicles really love them. According to Consumer Reports, the all-electric Nissan Leaf is among the top scorers in the most recent study for owner satisfaction, and the automobile with the highest overall score is none other than the Chevy Volt. As Automotive News described it:

The Volt has developed a cultish following. Hundreds of online forums have popped up with posts from Volt owners boasting of traveling thousands of miles between fill ups or squeezing out more than 40 miles on one electric charge.
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