1. Toyota Prius – It was the first mass produced hybrid on the market and thusly it’s become the defacto standard. It’s certainly reasonably priced, but does its boring looks and appliance-like feel turn off the average American driver (a very emotional group about what they drive) and push it towards one of it’s more contemporary competitors? In the end, a solid and reliable car that’s moving on to it’s 3rd generation in 2010 which should drive sales further. The Japanese are known for their reliability and improvements to batteries and production should drive the cost down and the mileage up. City: 48, Highway: 45, MSRP: $22,000 base pri
2. Honda Clarity FCX: Shortly after Toyota released it’s Prius, Honda moved forward with it’s Insight project, released in 2000 and has been in production until 2006. At that time, Honda moved their fuel cell technology along enough to power Accord and Civics. However, some believe that though gas-electric hybrids are all good and well, the true future of electric cars is with the use of Hydrogen and electrolysis to create a purely electric car with ZERO emissions. Sure, Hydrogen fuel stations are few and far between, but by the picture, you can tell the Clarity FCX is aiming at a higher eschelon individual. Mass produced FCXes could be ready as soon as 2012, but right now you can lease if you live in California (where Hydrogen stations are available). This is the car for the true eco-heads with it’s complete lack of any greenhouse gasses, something not even the Prius can claim. City/Highway: 68 MPG (equivalent), 280 Mile Range, $600 per month lease.
3. Chevrolet Volt: Marketed as the next big thing in commuter cars, the Volt’s goal is to create a combination plug-in hybrid that should be able to take you to work and back home on a single charge and not needing to use any gas at all. With an expected range of 40 miles, should you go beyond that, there’s a small gasoline generator to power the car until you get to your destination. GM has put a lot of money into marketing the Volt as the next big thing and utilizing it for a push to create special tax credits for cars that get 100MPG+. While the concept cars GM has shown are certainly edgy, a full production version (scheduled for a possible release in 2010), we’ll see what the actual Volt turns out looking like. City/Highway: 50MPG (no battery), 150MPG (with battery), 100MPG (average equivalent), MRSP: $30,000+.
4. Tesla Roadster: Based on the Lotus Elise, the Tesla is the first electric car “Car Guys” wanted. Promising of a usable range (over 245 miles), awesome acceleration (less than 4 seconds to 60MPH) and a super sexy chassis based on 15+ years of development on the street and race track, the Tesla makes owning a electric car bearable. Though the small roadster isn’t the most practical car here, it’s certainly the one that involves the most user input to drive. It’s the one you’ll want to take to the local track or autocross. It’s the first car to break the stigma associated with driving a “green” car and for that, it’s made our list. Will it top yours? City/Highway: 105MPG (equivalent), MSRP: $98,000.
5. Fisker Karma: Built by the world renound car designer, Henrik Fisker, designer of the Astin Martin DB9, the Astin Martin V8 Vantage and BMW V8, the Fisker Karma is the car you buy as the President of your eco-friendly business. You’ll need 4-doors to fit your clients in, but you’ll need to not waste gas to protect your image. The Karma is another plug-in hybrid that utilizes solar cells on the roof as well as a tiny gas generator to keep your car going past the 50 mile electric only range (similar to the Volt). However, whereas most other makers design their cars to sell to the average consumer, the Fisker is for a more refined taste. It’s long, sleek body, premium interior and fully featured healm make this car the Mercedes S-Class of hybrid cars (though Mercedes is working on their hybrid S currently). With a Fisker Karma, you’re not only saving the environment, you’re looking like a million bucks doing so. City/Highway: 150MPG (equivalent), MSRP: $80,000.