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Nissan Leaf

This fully electric plug-in would be right at home in the Jetsons' garage. It charges completely in seven hours with a 240-volt connection. And it's seriously cool inside, with animated displays and fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles. A $349 monthly lease makes the car's $25,780 price (after a $7,500 federal tax credit) competitive with non-electrics.

Chevy Volt

Worried you'll run out of juice in the middle of the expressway? Then choose the Volt, which pairs a 40-mile electric motor with a gas engine. Named Motor Trend Car of the Year, it's spunky and powers up on a standard 120-volt outlet. The lease is a steal at $2,500 down and $350 a month for 36 months, with a retail price of $33,500 after the federal tax credit.

Honda Fit EV

The all-electric version of Honda's sporty Fit isn't available until 2012, but it promises to be a formidable competitor to the Nissan Leaf, with a 100-mile-range motor, seating for five, and a spacious hatchback. Using technology from Honda's CR-Z sport hybrid, the motor can operate in econ, normal, or sport mode to either maximize energy efficiency or boost power.

HYBRIDS

Toyota Prius

Still the mack daddy, the Prius remains the fuel-economy leader for gas hybrids, with 51mpg city, 48mpg highway. And given there's so much competition in the hybrid market, drivers no longer have to pay a premium: you can get into one for $23,050. A hybrid plug-in version will arrive in two years, but will its 13-mile electric range be too little, too late?

Ford Fusion

This hybrid offers generous mileage--41mpg city, 36mpg highway--coupled with all-wheel drive, midsize roominess, and interior creature comforts. Seats are made of 85 percent recycled materials. Unlike some other hybrids that operate on electric at parking-lot speeds, the Fusion is capable of maintaining 47mph powered solely by the electric motor. …

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