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Electric car sales on LI picking up speed

Electric cars, a hard sell on SUV-loving Long Island, are finding new buyers as automakers offer new models and sweeten deals.

In the next 18 months, six new models will join the 11 already available here.

Sales of electrics have been hampered by short driving ranges, high prices and few public recharging stations. But, with gasoline prices marching steadily upward, the number of electrics is starting to grow.

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Statewide, in just the past year, electric car ownership increased fourfold, to almost 4,000, says the state Department of Motor Vehicles. The cars are still a tiny percentage of more than 9 million vehicles of all types in the state. The count excludes golf cart-like “neighborhood” vehicles with federally mandated 25 mph speed limits, and hybrid gasoline-electric cars such as the original Toyota Prius that don’t plug in to recharge.

On Long Island, there were only 1,008 electric and plug-in electric-gasoline hybrid vehicles — whose ability to plug in and recharge distinguishes it from the original Prius gas-electric hybrid — registered in April, said the motor vehicles department. That’s still a tiny portion of the 2.2 million total vehicles here. These electric cars are primarily powered by batteries, which get their juice from 110- and 220-volt recharging stations.
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