2011 Electric Cars in the USA: Here’s the Lineup

Recently, there have been great strides in not only diesel and hybrid cars, but also in electric cars. A few electric cars that we’ve seen manufactured have really put a heavy emphasis on performance, which is a nice change of pace from older cars we’ve seen that were known as “low speed.” You know, the ones you aren’t even allowed to drive on roads with a speed limit higher than 35 mph!

Here’s a list of the most promising electric cars that we should see available in the USA in 2011.


Nissan Leaf – The Nissan Leaf electric car is a 100 percent electric vehicle that requires no gasoline. It can seat up to 5 passengers, has 5 doors, and a range of 100 miles per charge. It runs on a 24 kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery, and has a variety of different features, ranging from push button ignition, to navigation, and so on.

With a 100 mile per charge range, a car as such is going to be great for suburban commutes or short back and forth trips daily. It’s made in America, and will go for just under $26,000 (after all applicable tax credits are applied). More information can be found on the Nissan Leaf Website.

This one looks like it could be a Prius killer for urban drivers. I’ve heard that Lance Armstrong has one reserved already.

Chevrolet Volt – Now, technically the Chevy Volt is actually a hybrid, as it features a gas engine that recharges the battery. However, the powertrain is only powered by an electric motor, so we decided to include it to our list. The Chevy Volt will charge overnight, and when you’re ready to go will run on a charge for 40 miles, free of gas and emissions.

After that, the Volt uses a range-extending gas generator that produces energy to power it for hundreds of miles on a tank of gas. There’s more information to be found about the Chevrolet Volt electric car on their official website.


Coda – The Coda electric car can seat up to 4 passengers, and is powered by a 728 cell lithium-iron phosphate battery. This car has a range of 90-120 miles, with a top speed of 80 mph. As far as warranty is concerned, the Coda features a 3-year/36,000 mile limited vehicle warranty. In addition, the battery covered for 8 years/100,000 miles.

More information about the Coda Electric Car can be found on the official Coda website.


Fisker Karma – Much like the Chevrolet Volt, the Fisker Karma electric car is also somewhat of a hybrid that features a gas engine to recharge the battery, yet only uses an electric motor for the powertrain.

Designed by Henrik Fisker (who is known for his work on the BMW Z8, the Aston Martin DB9 and the Aston Martin V8 Vantage), the Karma boasts a 300 mile range and can go from 0-60 in less than 6 seconds, featuring a top speed 125 mph (200 km/h).

The car also features two Driving Modes: stealth drive (a quiet economy mode) and sport drive (which accesses the full power of the vehicle).

Here’s how the car works: it uses what is known as “Q-DRIVE plug-in hybrid technology.” A fully-charged Karma burns no fuel for the first 50 miles. After 50 miles, the gasoline engine turns a generator to charge the lithium ion battery. From there, the car operates as a normal hybrid vehicle.

A balance of gas and electricity as such can help the driver achieve an average fuel economy of 100 mpg (2.4L/100km) per year.

For more information on the Fisker Karma, check out the Official Fisker Karma website.

Ford Focus eV – You may have recently seen the Ford Focus electric automobiles on Jay Leno’s ‘Green Car Challenge’ where he and guests on the show go head to head in an obstacle course with one of the Focus eV Electric Cars.

Hopefully in 2011 this battery-powered version Focus should be available in a limited fashion (with at best – a possible 5,000 manufactured for the first couple of years). The drivetrain of the Focus has been engineered by Magna International, a Canadian company. The Focus will have a 100-mile range and will rely on lithium-ion batteries.


Tesla Roadster – The Tesla Roadster is a pretty hot sports car. You may have seen some of our posts here on The Practical Environmentalist that look into an ongoing back and forth exchange between Tesla and Fisker. The Roadster is a high performance machine – going from 0-60 mph in just 3.9 seconds! In addition, it can go up to 245 miles on a single charge!

So what we’ve essentially got here is high power performance in an eco-friendly fashion. The Tesla Roadster literally redefines everything that you may have thought to be true of an electric car.

Now, the price tag is pretty hefty – as the Tesla electric car rivals any high powered sports car price tag (leasing one, for example will cost you just under $1700 per month). However, for the car enthusiast and the eco-friendly connoisseur, this is the ultimate in electric powered vehicles.

Want to learn more about the Tesla? Surely your interest must be piqued! Check out the Official Tesla Motors Website for more great information on the Roadster. Tesla is evidently also working on a four door electric car that will cost in the $60K range, after tax breaks. Not sure when that one will hit the market.


Think City – The Think City electric car is slated to be available in the US for 2011. This electric car has a range of around 75-100 miles per single charge. It runs on the Zebra sodium battery and Lithium-Ion battery from EnerDel, and can be charged through a conventional socket.

The features on this car are just like you would want on any other automobile – airbags, mp3 player, bluetooth enabled, ABS – and is a two door, multiple passenger car that should perform well for city traffic, and for the daily commute. Not to mention – you’re also helping the environment.

More information about the Think City can be found on the Think Website.

Update: Toyota contracts with Tesla to bring electric RAV4 back in 2012

We’ve read reports that apparently the Toyota Corporation has contracted with Tesla to help bring back the electric Rav4. They plan to use a Tesla powertrain and battery pack with the RAV4 body.

Toyota has set a goal to release a car in the US by 2012, so it won’t be in the US in 2011. But hopefullly by 2012 we’ll see an electric car by Toyota back on the market. The electric Rav4 was made from 1997 to 2003 and had a range of 100 miles.

What about other electric cars?

There are a handful of other electric cars that have been proposed, but many of these are still “in production” phases, or are “low speed” vehicles, that are great for suburban and neighborhood travel, but aren’t ideal or ready yet for highway travel. Then there are others that look much like golf carts, which you certainly can’t take to work with you day in and day out.

Still, these are some great options, and some promising new developments in the world of electric vehicles!

Did we miss anything on the list? Let us know in the comments!

2011 diesel cars in the USA: here’s the lineup

Have you seen our new 2012 diesel car lineup post?

There have been a few exciting new developments in diesel automobiles available in the United States since we published our 2010 list, but for the most part the diesel vehicles available in the US remain the same.

A wide variety of car manufacturers have diesel available in Europe, but the stricter emissions standards in the States have prevented them from bringing those models over here. It’s evidently quite expensive to upgrade a standard diesel engine so that it meets US “clean diesel” standards. Therefore, while there are some diesel powered cars available in the United States, it’s currently a minority market.

Without further hesitation, here’s our list of diesel powered cars for 2011 in the US:

Acura – There has been speculation of an Acura diesel model in the US for 2011, but recent updates show that the manufacturer is currently shying away from one being offered in the US. Currently, there is no diesel model available.

Audi – Audi will continue to offer its TDI diesel line. Complete information can be found on the Audi TDI site. The two cars offered are the Audi A3 TDI and the Audi Q7 TDI.


In 2010, the A3 was listed as the Green Car Journal’s ‘Green Car of The Year.’ It gets 30 mpg hwy and 42 mpg city. You may also remember it from the Green Police Ad featured during the last Superbowl.


The Q7 TDI is Audi’s diesel powered SUV. This SUV gets 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. Coincidentally, it’s also the same diesel engine that the Porsche Diesel engine is based off of (however, Porsche currently only has a diesel model available in Europe). More information about the Q7 can be found here.

BMW – Many will argue that Bavarian Motor Works make some of the finest cars out there. Not to be outdone, BMW also offers two different diesel models: The 335d and the X5 xDrive 35d.


The 335d sedan features a 3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 6A engine, and gets 23 mpg city and 36 mpg highway (for a combined total of 27).


The 2011 BMW X5 xDrive 35d features is a 265 horsepower, 3.0-liter, inline 6-cylinder engine with TwinPower Turbo technology that gets 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

Buick – There are no Buick diesel models available in the US for 2011.

Cadillac – Cadillac does not currently offer any of their models in Diesel.

Chevrolet – There are no Chevy cars that feature diesel, but the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD Pickup Truck comes with a Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V8 that has an output of 397 max horsepower and 765 lb.-ft. of torque.

This truck is supposed to have a 11% increase in fuel saving technology over the 2010 model.

Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge – Chrysler and Jeep do not offer any cars with diesel capabilities for 2011. Dodge, however does. The 2011 Ram Chassis is available in diesel (if you plan to do a lot of heavy loading from now and then, or are really just a hoss).

In addition, the 2011 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 models are also slated to be diesel trucks, with the 2500 typically getting 15 mpg city and 20 hwy.

Ford – Cars, not so much. Trucks, Yes. The Ford Super Duty models (F-250, F-350, and F-450) are all available with a 6.7L Power Stroke(R) V8 Turbo Diesel Engine.

These trucks are workhorses, but can also be the maximum in comfort. The King Ranch edition, for example comes fully loaded so you can utilize your truck in style as well as in an alternative fuel manner.

GMC – Much like Chevy, GMC will feature the Sierra 2500 HD and 3500 HD models with a diesel engine.

Honda – While there has been plenty of speculation and hope of Honda releasing a 2011 diesel model in the US, it doesn’t appear as if that will be happening.

Hyundai – The folks over at Hyundai currently have no diesel models slated for the US in 2011.

Kia – Kia currently does not have a diesel powered car in the US market.

Lexus – While there are plenty of fuel efficient hybrids that Lexus has to offer, they currently do not have a diesel model available in the United States.

Lincoln – There are no Lincoln diesel models listed for the 2011 year.

Mazda – No diesel models are listed for 2011.

Mercedes-Benz – Mercedes features three models with their diesel Bluetec system. These models are the ML350, the GL350, and the R350. The R350 model is a crossover, while the G and M models are sport utility vehicles.

As far as gas mileage is concerned the M class will get 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, the G class will get 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, and the R class will get 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. These models were also available in 2010.

Mercury – There are no Mercury diesel models listed for 2011.

Mitsubishi –2011 does not have any diesel models listed for Mercury.

Nissan – There are no diesel cars slated to come out for Nissan in 2011, despite some speculation.

Pontiac – There are no new Pontiacs for 2011, or ever for that matter. Hence, there will be no Pontiac models available as diesel powered cars either.

Porsche – While there is a Porsche Cayenne diesel powered SUV available in Europe, there is not currently one available in the USA.

However, a unique fact is that the engine technology used for the Porsche Cayenne Diesel features the same look and basic engine design of the Volkswagon Toureg TDI and the Audi Q7 TDI, both of which are available in the United States of America.

Saab – There are currently no Saab diesel models slated for 2011 in America.

Saturn – There are currently no Saturn diesel models available. Much like Pontiac, there will be no more Saturns made ever. So hope you weren’t holding out hope for a Saturn diesel model, because quite simply put: it’s not going to happen.

Subaru – Subaru unfortunately doesn’t have any diesel models available in the US, although they are available in Europe.

Toyota – There has also been some buzz and speculation of Toyota potentially releasing a diesel model in the US in 2011, but this will not be the case either.

Volkswagen – Ah yes, the “V-dub.” There are actually four Volkswagen diesel models available in the United States. They are the Touareg TDI (a sport utility vehicle), the Jetta TDI, The Jetta SportWagen TDI, and the Volkswagen Golf.

Gas Milage for the Touareg is 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. For the Jetta, it’s a whopping 30 mpg and 42 mpg highway. As far as the golf is concerned, you’re going to be looking at a very similar number: 30 mpg city and 41 mpg highway.

Volvo – There have been Volvo diesels before, and there are Volvo diesel cars overseas, but 2011 will not see any Volvo diesel cars in the United States.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!