Infographic: Electric Vehicles from Tesla Motors

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2011 Tesla ComparisonI recently had the opportunity to visit the Tesla Motors headquarters in San Francisco. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the brand, you’re in for a real treat.

Tesla Motors builds electric vehicles (EV) for car fanatics – their designs just aren’t typical of other EVs on the market. Their lines don’t scream “I’m eco-friendly and green.” The car doesn’t drag when you press the pedal. On the contrary, Tesla’s two models – the roadster and the sedan – are sleek and snappy. And while the roadster was a limited run and no longer readily available for purchase, the Model S sedan is alive and well.

Compared to some popular 100% electric competitors, the Model S is a larger sedan, seating up to seven people (two young children in rear-facing seats). However, its 0-60 speed is about half of its competitors and it travels three times further than the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric on a single charge. It also offers a 440 volt charging option (at an extra cost) to cut charge time down to a more than reasonable 45 minutes. The showroom model is also, in my opinion, a very nice looking vehicle.

See how the Tesla Model S compares to other popular 100% electric cars:

2011 Tesla Comparison

Tesla Motors Ford Toyota Nissan

While you save on gas and get federal credits on your EV’s MSRP, it’s important to factor in other costs of ownership, including the electricity to charge your car at home or on the road and the purchase and installation of a high voltage charger to speed up charge times. Tesla’s Web site cites that their batteries operate at 70% after three years of extended use. If you plan to keep your EV for a long time, potential battery replacement is another thing to keep in mind.

So do the pros outweigh the cons? It depends on how you drive your car, how long your commute is, if your electricity provider offers discounted rates for off-peak usage, if you have the time to wait for it to recharge  and so on.

Ready for a splurge? Check out the *almost* $100K Fisker Karma.

If you were to buy an electric vehicle, which one would you pick and why?

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