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Electric Cars For Sale In 2014

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Are electric cars your thing? Good, this is a page packed full of electric car facts, including electric cars for sale in 2014 in the US and their prices. Electric car answers for any question you have should be on this page. If not, drop us a note so that we can add them. If you have some important electric car answers or facts to add, also drop a note in the comments below! This page will be continually updated.

Keep up with the latest EV news here, and keep up with the latest EV sales updates here.

For information on electric cars available in Europe, check out this more comprehensive commercially available electric car list.

Basic Electric Car Answers

  • Electric vehicles (EVs) run on electricity.
  • Some EVs run 100% on electricity, while others (hybrid electric vehicles) run partly on electricity and partly on some other fuel (e.g., gas or diesel). Vehicles that can at times run solely on electricity, and can be plugged in to charge their batteries, are called plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
  • 100% electric vehicles and PHEVs are clearly much better for the environment (and, thus, humans) than their gasoline-powered cousins. Their fuel (electricity) is also much cheaper.

Currently Available Electric Cars

The following are electric cars that are for sale today in the US or are supposed to be for sale at some point in 2014.

The first prices listed are base prices before the federal tax credit, and in parenthesis are prices after the federal tax credit (normally $7,500). Other tax credits and rebates potentially available in your city or state (such as the $2,500 California EV rebate or $5,000 Georgia EV tax credit) are not included.

Links on the car names are mostly to our story archives for these cars. Links on the prices are to the car companies’ pages for the cars.

Range and MPGe/MPG data come from the EPA.

Check these electric cars out and go test drive some this weekend!

Nissan Leaf — $28,800 ($21,300)

nissan leaf technological revolutions

Nissan Leaf

  • 84-mile range
  • 114 MPGe
  • 2014 and 2013 models — 5 seats; 2012 model — 4 seats

Chevy Volt (PHEV) — $34,185 ($26,685)

Chevy Volt

  • 38-mile range on battery; 380-mile range in total
  • 98 MPGe on battery; 37 MPG on gas (60 MPGe combined)
  • 4 seats

Tesla Model S — $71,070 ($63,570)

tesla model s

Tesla Model S


Tesla Model S

  • 208-mile range
  • 95 MPGe
  • 5 seats

Toyota Prius Plug-In (PHEV) — $29,990 ($27,490)

Toyota Prius Plug-In

  • 11-mile range on battery; 540-mile range in total
  • 95 MPGe on battery; 50 MPG on gas
  • 5 seats 

Ford C-Max Energi (PHEV) — $32,950 ($28,943)

Ford C-MAX Energi

  • 21-mile range; 620-mile range in total
  • 100 MPGe on battery; 43 MPG on gas
  • 5 seats

Ford Fusion Energi (PHEV) — $38,700 ($34,693)

Ford Fusion Energi

  • 21-mile range; 620-mile range in total
  • 100 MPGe on battery; 43 MPG on gas
  • 5 seats

smart electric drive — $19,990 ($12,490) + $80/Month Battery Rental

smart EV

smart electric drive

  • 68-mile range
  • 107 MPGe
  • 2 seats

2013 Ford Focus Electric$35,200 ($27,700)

ford focus electric on sale

Ford Focus Electric

  • 76-mile range
  • 105 MPGe
  • 5 seats

Chevy Spark EV$27,495 ($19,995)

Chevy Spark EV.

Chevy Spark EV

Check out a full Chevy Spark EV review video at: 28 Electrified Vehicles, 47 Electrified Vehicle Videos (Commercials, Reviews, Etc.)

  • 82-mile range
  • 119 MPGe
  • 4 seats

Toyota RAV4 EV$49,800 ($42,300)

Toyota RAV4 EV

  • 103-mile range
  • 76 MPGe
  • 5 seats

Honda Accord Plug-In (PHEV) — $39,780 ($36,154)

2014 Honda Accord Plug-In

  • 13-mile range on battery; 570-mile range in total
  • 115 MPGe (on battery)
  • 5 seats

Honda Fit EV — $36,625 (Can Only Lease)


Honda Fit EV

  • 82-mile range
  • 118 MPGe
  • 5 seats

Mitsubishi i — $22,995 ($15,495)

Mitsubishi i (aka iMIEV)

  • 62-mile range
  • 112 MPGe
  • 4 seats

Fiat 500e$31,800 ($24,300)


Fiat 500e

(Bunch more Fiat 500e commercials here.)

  • 87-mile range
  • 115 MPGe
  • 4 seats

Wheego Whip — $18,995

Wheego Whip

  • 40-mile range
  • ?? MPGe
  • 2 seats

Wheego LiFe — $32,995 ($25,495)

Wheego LiFe

  • 100-mile range
  • ?? MPGe
  • 2 seats

BMW i3 — $41,350 ($33,850)

BMW i3 me

BMW i3 & me

BMW i3 side

BMW i3

Check out more BMW i3 videos at: BMW i3 Olympics Commercials Nail It! (4 Commercials) and 28 Electrified Vehicles, 47 Electrified Vehicle Videos (Commercials, Reviews, Etc.)

  • range = 81
  • 124 MPGe (record!)
  • 4 seats

BMW i8 — $135,700 ($128,200 — Preorder Only)

The BMW i8 as seen at the 2012 LA Auto Show

BMW i8


BMW i8

Check out more BMW i8 videos at: 28 Electrified Vehicles, 47 Electrified Vehicle Videos (Commercials, Reviews, Etc.)

  • range = 81–100 (EPA range TBA)
  • MPGe TBA
  • 4 seats

Tesla Model X$60,000 (Preorder Only)

tesla model x back

Tesla Model X


Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X electric SUV

Tesla Model X

  • Range TBA
  • MPGe TBA
  • 5 seats

Volkswagen e-Up! — £19,250 (£24,250) — only for sale in Europe

VW eUps Barcelona Spain

VW e-Up! x 2

VW e-Up!

VW e-Up!

  • Range TBA
  • MPGe TBA
  • 5 seats

Volkswagen e-Golf


VW e-Golf

  • range = 70–90 miles (EPA range TBA)
  • MPGe TBA
  • 5 seats

Cadillac ELR (PHEV) –$75,000 ($67,500)


Jay Leno in Cadillac ELR

Check out more Cadillac ELR videos at: 28 Electrified Vehicles, 47 Electrified Vehicle Videos (Commercials, Reviews, Etc.)

  • 37-mile range on battery; 340 miles in total
  • 82 MPGe (electric); 31 MPG city/35 highway (gas)
  • 4 seats

Nissan e-NV200 — Price TBA


Nissan e-NV200


Nissan e-NV200

  • Range TBA
  • MPGe TBA

Porsche Panamera Plug-in S E-Hybrid — $94,248 ($99,000)


Porsche Panamera Plug-in S E-Hybrid

Check out more Porsche Panamera Plug-in S E-Hybrid videos at: 28 Electrified Vehicles, 47 Electrified Vehicle Videos (Commercials, Reviews, Etc.)

  • 22-miles range on battery (EPA range TBA)
  • ~53 MPGe  (EPA rating TBA)

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric — $41,450 ($33,950)

Mercedes B-Class EV Comes With 124-Mile Range, Tesla Technology, Multiple Braking Options

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric

  • range = ~84 (EPA range TBA)
  • MPGe TBA
  • 5 seats

Via Motors VTRUX — $79,000 before tax credits, not sure of before-tex credit price


Check out more Via Motors videos at: 28 Electrified Vehicles, 47 Electrified Vehicle Videos (Commercials, Reviews, Etc.)

There aren’t many details out on the Via Motors VTRUX lineup, but these extended-range electric vehicle trucks, SUVs, and vans are currently available to fleets.

The following are coming or concept EVs:

More on current electric vehicles, from the EPA.
More on new & upcoming EVs, from the EPA.

Beyond the info above, the following posts may interest you:

EV Battery Costs

The initial price tag of EVs and PHEVs, like the Volt or Karma, is higher than that of similarly sized and equipped gasoline-powered cars mostly because their batteries are expensive. How expensive? That’s hard to know, because car manufacturers generally won’t say what they are paying for their batteries. Here are some of the best answers we’ve got for now:

  • According to an April 2012 Bloomberg New Energy Finance report, the average price of batteries used in electric vehicles dropped 14% from Q1 2011 to Q1 2012.
  • The average price of an EV battery at the end of Q1 2012 was $689 per kilowatt hour, compared to $800 per kilowatt hour in 2011, according to that report.
  • Compared to 2009, prices were down approximately 30%.
  • By 2030, BNEF projects battery prices will fall to $150/kWh (in 2012 dollars).

Here’s some more info from that report:

“Electric vehicles such as the Mitsubishi Motor iMiEV, Nissan Leaf or Tesla Model S require between 16 and 85kWh of storage, with a total cost of $11,200 and $34,000, or around 25% of the total cost of the vehicle,” BNEF notes. “Battery pack prices for plug-in hybrid vehicles such as GM’s Volt are on average 67% higher in terms of $/kWh, than those for electric-only vehicles like Nissan’s Leaf. This higher price is mainly due to the greater power-to-energy performance required for plug-in hybrid vehicles.”

“As reported last year by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, current production capacity for electric vehicle battery packs outstrips demand by over 10GWh, equivalent to around 400,000 pure battery electric vehicles, and the gap is on course to widen to 17GWh by the end of 2013. By comparison, the total number of electric vehicles sold in 2011 was 43,237.”

“Batteries are one of the biggest drivers of the cost of electric vehicles, and hence of their uptake,” Michael Liebreich, chief executive of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, commented. “A sharp decline in price may be unwelcome for battery manufacturers, but it is essential for the long-term health of the sector. Battery prices will be one of the key pieces of data for investors, policy-makers and the car industry to watch over the next few years, and that is why we have launched this index.”

Furthermore, here’s a statement from US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, from back in January 2012, on battery costs (emphasis mine):

“Overall, the Department of Energy is partnering with industry to reduce the manufacturing cost of advanced batteries. While a typical battery for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with a 40-mile electric range cost $12,000 in 2008, we’re on track to demonstrate technology by 2015 that would reduce the cost to $3,600. And last year, we set a goal of demonstrating technology by 2020 that would further reduce the cost to $1,500 – an accomplishment that could help spur the mass-market adoption of electric vehicles.”

Also worth noting is the prediction from the CEO and founder of EV leader Tesla Motors that the cost of EV batteries will drop below $200 per kWh in the “not-too-distant future” (stated back in February 2012).

UCS Study on Environmental Benefits & Fuel Savings of EVs

The Union of Concerned Scientists in April 2012 completed the most comprehensive study to date on the fuel and environmental costs (or, more appropriately, savings) of electric vehicles. Here are some details from that:

  • “Based on electricity rates in 50 cities across the United States, the analysis found drivers can save $750 to $1,200 dollars a year compared to operating an average new compact gasoline vehicle (27 mpg) fueled with gasoline at $3.50 per gallon. Higher gas prices would mean even greater EV fuel cost savings. For each 50 cent increase in gas prices, an EV driver can expect save an extra $200 a year.”
  • “… nearly half (45 percent) of Americans live in ‘best’ regions where an EV has lower global warming emissions than a 50 mile per gallon (mpg) gasoline-powered vehicle, topping even the best gasoline hybrids on the market. In places like California and most of New York, EV’s environmental performance could be as high as an 80 mpg gasoline-powered vehicle.”
  • “In parts of the Rocky Mountains region, driving an EV produces global warming emissions equivalent to a gasoline vehicle with a fuel economy rating of 33 mpg, similar to the best non-hybrid compact gasoline vehicles available today — all while cutting our nation’s oil consumption.” (This is the dirtiest region of our country, in terms of its electricity sources.)

Clearly, as we move more an more to clean, renewable energy in the US, electric vehicles will only become greener and greener to drive.

Additionally, if one were to install solar panels on their home, the “fuel” for their EV would be clean, renewable solar power (sunlight).

Got more car answers to contribute? Or questions you’d like us to answer?

UPDATE: We’ve created a spreadsheet for crowdsourced, up-to-date info on production EVs on the market in 2013 or  2014. Have a look, and add any reliable info that you see is missing or out of date.

–>Also recommended for you: Advanced Batteries Market to 2020 — Demand for Electric Vehicles to Drive Growth, Asia Pacific to Remain the Major Producer

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  • Dominik S.

    I noticed under Tesla’s Model X, you listed it has 5 seats, but it actually (according to the video) has seating for 7. Just though it was worth pointing out.

  • Volt Owner

    I got to sit in a Kia Soul last month at the Drive Electric week rally in Sunnyvale. If the e-Golf is listed, the Soul should be too, both will be available soon…

  • nancy white


  • Anton

    Any data on electromagnetic fields produced by electric motors, batteries, …, in electric cars?

  • Sushant R

    I think we forgot one car. Mahindra e2o. it is the most affordable ev in the world. 120km range, 19kw powertrain and bevy of other features.

    • A Real Libertarian

      Currently running at between US$8,316.60 (Base, Bangalore) and US$11,901.43 (Premium + Quick2Charge, Delhi).

      But this article is about cars for sale in America, and the e2o is only sold in India, Bhutan & Bermuda.

      How about a worldwide article, Zach?

      • Sushant R

        Thanks Real!
        +1 to worldwide article.

        • A Real Libertarian

          No problem.

  • IMPOed

    What happens if your charge is low, meaning if you are a mile from home is it going to flat out quit or just get slower and slower?
    Also are there solar panels available so it can charge while at rest? (The wife drives 50 miles to work and is there for 12 hrs., if you have a 70 mile range, it may charge enough for the trip home)
    I know everything is “relative” but anything like that in the works?

    • Bob_Wallace

      There’s not that many square feet of surface area on a car roof (hood and trunk). If super efficient cells weren’t so expensive one might be able to grab a few miles while parked.

      What really needs to happen is that businesses and schools need to install charge outlets for EV drivers. That would double the range and make EVs practical for a lot more people.

      Then put about 3 kW of panels on your roof for every 13,000 miles you drive per year.

      • IMPOed

        Thank you, interesting,, :>) what about,
        What happens if your charge is low, meaning if you are a mile from home
        is it going to flat out quit or just get slower and slower, in an EV?

  • Rudolf Zölde

    new real electrical power gain is a quantum leap in the electronics
    world with high gain due to increased power for each power source and
    is an efficient use of energy for electric vehicles, photovoltaics,
    Rudolf Zölde
    / Fax: +34 965832368



    Die neue reale elektrische Leistungsverstärkung
    ist ein Quantensprung in der Elektronikwelt mit hohem Gewinn durch
    erhöhte Leistung für jede Stromquelle und ist eine effiziente
    Nutzung von Energie für Elektrofahrzeuge, Photovoltaik, Luft-und

  • mcamello

    How about installing on board the vehicle one dynamo along with two ultra-capacitors that can store electricity for alternate use, and instant alternate recharging, in the E.V.?

    The dynamo shall then be “hitched” by an appropriate adopter to the wheel or to a rotating shaft of the vehicle. Then initially connect the fully charged ultra-capacitor to power the vehicle. In the meantime, the idle power-drained ultra-capacitor shall be connected to the dynamo through the plug-in mechanism for instant recharging each time the vehicle is being driven.

    When the “on service” ultra- capacitor runs low of power, simply switch it out and then switch in the fully re charged ultra-capacitor to the vehicle to continue powering the vehicle. The “switched out” ultra-capacitor shall then be connected to the dynamo for instant recharging while the vehicle is traveling.

    Is the foregoing recommendation possible for adoption?

    • Calamity_Jean

      “Is the foregoing recommendation possible for adoption?”

      No. What you have there is another variation on the perpetual motion machine. It’s impossible. Sorry.

  • julia john

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    post. I simply came across your blog and desired to say that I have really
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    electrician brisbane southside

  • David van Zijl

    Options for EVs certainly are becoming more attractive, although the prices are still quite high and range in general is relatively low. That being said there seems to be plenty of competitive and innovation going on in the industry, long may it continue!

  • Phil Katz

    Here in Seattle my wife and I are looking to get a pure electric compact sedan. (Not a a tiny car or a concept car.) Not having the funds for a Tesla, it looks like a Leaf or a Ford Focus Electric. (Electric Fit is still lease-only, right?)

    Prob is either Ford Company or Ford dealers here seem not to be serious about selling the Focus Electric. We went to a Ford dealer in Renton and they didn’t have one “right now” and showed us a used Leaf instead. One in North Seattle sez he only has one in for a day or so; if you don’t show up on day certain, the one he has that 2 weeks or month is gone. This is in complete contrast to when we bought our 2013 Volt; virtually every dealer had at least 1 to show us, and several offered a choice (though I think some were sharing available inventory.) We had several dealers hot to have us test drive, and several offerers at differing prices when we bought. (It’s a wonderful car, btw, but we really dont need both our cars to have gas engines for extended range.)

    So is Focus Electric really a) a California-only car, to comply w/ rules to sell a fraction, b) something Ford hasn’t got its heart in; c) so out-competed by Leaf that nobody wants ‘em, or what? What is the skinny on them? Is everybody waiting for the next price down-increment in Tesla models?

    • Charlotte Omoto

      I think many of the cars listed are only available and serviced in CA, Toyota RAV4 ev, for one. It would be useful on the list to indicate where they are sold and serviced. I’ve heard of those who live outside of CA having heck of a time getting service on their RAV4 ev.

      I think there is a general problem with EVs other than Tesla, which explains why Tesla does not want to use the dealership model. Most dealers are not keen to sell EVs since they will not need as much maintenance and frankly I think many are downright against EVs. I’ve heard of others who went to a Nissan dealer for a Leaf and got steered to a regular car.

      • Bob_Wallace

        I think most car companies do not want to build EVs at this time. I suspect they see no market and want to concentrate on what is currently making them money.

        They are making a few EVs in order to sell other cars in Ca. And making a handful gets them ready to jump into the EV market once demand increases. I have to admit that were I running a car company and had to keep profits up it’s likely what I’d do.

        Nissan, Tesla, GM and to a small extent Toyota are in the electric market. Their market share is very small, splitting it up over several other manufacturers would be bad for electrics. We need a few manufacturers turning out enough electrics per year to bring battery prices down.

        Once battery prices come down to where EVs/PHEVs are only a few thousand more than a same-model ICEV then sales will take off.

  • wholehousefanguy

    I am looking for a good used EV with gas engine so I can convert the engine to CNG. Any advice on which EV to look for??

  • hdfcg

    what abt pollution??

    • Bob_Wallace

      Pollution hurts my nose.

  • Senlac

    Thank you Zachary, as usual nicely done.

    The question of electricity sources and “carbon foot print” of EV verse other types of cars is really a moot issue. The bottom line is, EV technology is more efficient, even when using less than optional energy sources, like coal and gas. A typical ICE engine is 15% efficient gas tank to wheels. EVs are 67-80% battery to wheels. And of course as we clean up our energy sources it becomes even more moot. Same with “carbon foot print”. Case in point is Germany, where the BMW 3i is made in an economy which during the day energy is 1/3 solar and some wind. Batteries do raise the carbon foot print, but then there is recycling, so not a big sweat. As we move to a renewable energy economy EVs make more and more sense. The Chinese company Kandi is building towers which hold EVs for daily rental. The test city “Hangzhou” will have perhaps 30 such towers.

    Here is a pretty cool video about it.

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  • k4kenneth

    Iposted a video of Tom Hanks driving his electric car on my blog

  • Grace Putz

    Thanks for this article. This article is uncommon but attractive. Here I have found details about electric cars and this is good. General people can get information here and they car purchase an electric car. I only want to say that this car can save us from pollution. So use this car and save environment.

  • Ace

    Great Information! Are you keeping this up to date? Would it be possible to include the battery size with the vehicles and cumulative sales?

    Missing Upcoming:
    -Cadillac ELR
    -Mercedez-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive

  • Jesse Stephenson

    Hey Zachary, check out my new electric vehicle. It is called the e-fox. thanks, Jesse

  • John Brian Shannon

    You could add the Mercedes Electric Drive.

    In Electric Blue, please!

  • sun

    all out electric car marketing start
    who win ?
    maybe google

  • sun

    all out electric car markitng start
    who win?
    may be google

  • Todd

    Right on Maxx the Katt!

  • MaxxTheKatt

    In the VERY near future, batteries as we know them will be a thing of the past as super conductors come on line. It will be like jumping from a Model T to a Ferrari. Super Conductor technology will revolutionize power storage. Imagine cell phones and Laptops that can run a month on one charge and take less than 30 seconds to recharge. Imagine electric cars with 500 miles or more range and take less than ten minutes to fully charge. Now your talking. That technology is right around the corner. Watch for it!

    • A Real Libertarian



    There is also OKA NEV ZEV available

    From $7,500

  • Mairead

    How can it be possible that designers continue to design overlarge, heavy vehicles? Are they really so poor at design that they don’t realise that wrapping a 100Kg payload in a 1000Kg vehicle makes even less sense when the package has to be moved by electricity?


    • Bob_Wallace

      Perhaps because they have to balance efficiency and market acceptance.

      Car companies could bring a tandem-seating, bullet-shaped “Aptera” to market but their marketing specialists would probably be telling them that the shape/size would not be acceptable to a large portion of buyers.

      I suspect Toyota would have grown their US market share for the Prius had they released a model that US buyers found attractive. People I know held their noses and bought a Prius in spite of its looks.

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  • BigB

    How about the Fluence ZE, 75KW peak family sedan with 22KwH, 15.6 KwH/100 KM battery, five-minute swap time, about a thousand sold and operating so far in Israel and Denmark?

    • Bob_Wallace

      IIRC Better Place recently gave up on battery swapping in Israel.

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  • John Sarter

    Not sure why, but thios article has left out what will no doubt be a top performer and game changer for the EV industry… The BMW i3 and i8. The i3 is an AMAZING car,sporting an ultra-light and ultra-strong carbon fiber composite body, “suicide door” access, and projected to be just under $40k starting price, less tax incentives and rebates, landing in the sub $30k range for California drivers!! I personally can’t wait to own one!

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  • justin bieber

    very nice

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  • Robert Flanary

    You can charge these things overnight very cheaply if you choose real time pricing. Unfortunately, the Sierra Club is against real time pricing and is encouraging people to adopt flat rate programs that subsidize businesses. Only with real time pricing can you get electricity at 2 to 3 cents per kilowatt hour. The Sierra Club plan rates are 5.5 cents per kilowatt hour. Check your suppliers. In general those green energy plans do not encourage conservation or electric vehicles. Smart meters are the future and give us the best opportunity to have a green energy system.

    • Zachary Shahan

      Sierra Club is against real time pricing? That seems odd. Don’t understand what its logic would be.

  • Svemir Vranko

    I would like to add Rimac – Concept One, the fastest electric car, custom made and is produced only 20 pieces per year:

    The Concept_One is an exceptional supercar with a new propulsion concept. With a curb weight of 1650 kg, and 1088 HP, the Concept_One can reach 100 km/h from a standstill in 2.8 seconds and continue to accelerate to the limit of 305 km/h. 92kWh of energy in the Battery Modules delivers enough juice“for up to 600 km of range.

    Price: over 500.000 $

    • Zachary Shahan

      Somewhat out of the “typical consumer” range, and certainly not mass production. We have covered the car, though. Could you pass along a webpage that includes MPGe or something similar?

  • Richard

    This article omits the environmental impact of manufacturing an electric or hybrid vehicle. Then there’s the impact of predominantly coal generated electricity to charge the batteries of electric cars in the US. Perhaps the Europeans have something with their 80+ mpg clean diesel cars that can run on vegetable oil.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Well, Richard, you thinking that the environmental impact of manufacturing an EV or hybrid is significantly different than the environmental impact of manufacturing a gasmobile?

      And since only 36% of American electricity comes from coal but 100% of gas and diesel comes from oil which do you think the larger problem for the environment? Especially as that 36% is going to continue to drop as the input from wind, solar and geothermal continue to increase.

      (We’ve haven’t used coal as our predominate electricity source in the US since 2003 when it provided 50.8%.)

      And exactly who do you think should give up eating so that the rest of you guys can drive around on vegetable oil?

      • Richard

        Yes manufacturing is significantly different. Subtract all the common elements like sheet metal, upholstery, glass and engine components etc and then add the impact of producing the lithium ion batteries (or whatever batteries). So I don’t buy the manufacturing side at all.

        Electricity from coal as of 2005 was 49.6% (Ref. Of the electricity generated in the United States in 2006, 70% was produced from fossil fuels (mainly coal and natural gas), almost 20% came from nuclear power, 7% from hydropower and 3% from other forms of renewable energy such as wind and solar energy. (Ref.

        In regards to vegetable oil and giving up eating, I wasn’t thinking of Burger King or McDonald’s. I was thinking about producing low sulfur oil from algae. A simple Google search will provide tons of info on oil from algae. (By the way around 90% of the corn produced in the US is not used for human consumption. It’s wasted on ethanol and animal feed. Ref. And

        Lastly, diesel is much more efficient in internal combustion engines because it has a much higher calorific value than gasoline. We’re talking 80mpg which is unheard of in a country where so much energy is wasted using inefficient 5 and 6 liter V8 gasoline engines (boasting 20mpg). For example, in the UK over 80% of all cars sold including luxury brands like Jaguar, Range Rover, Audi, BMW and Mercedes are all diesel. Yes, the Toyota Prius is available in the UK but as was proven in a road test a number of years ago, a BMW 520d (diesel) was more economical, (Ref. I’d go for the larger more economical 5 series BMW any day over the smaller less economical and slower Prius.

        It appears the Europeans know a lot more about efficient economical eco-friendly vehicles than we do.

        • Bob_Wallace

          So you think that mining and processing all the metal it takes for a internal combustion engine along with its cooling, fuel and exhaust systems is less energy demanding than making lithium batteries?


          2005 was a bunch of years ago. In 2012 US use of coal dropped to 36%. It will be lower in 2013. And lower still in 2014.

          We have approximately 100 coal plants scheduled to close over the next few years. We’ve essentially quit building coal plants. Coal is a dead man walking (to borrow a description from a German investment bank).

          Nuclear is now down to 19% and will be dropping. A plant in Wisconsin is closing this year and Oyster Creek is closing in a few years. Crystal River and San Ononfre are down and may not be coming back up due to extensive repair costs.

          First half of 2012 we got 7.6% of our electricity from hydro and 5.4% from non-hydro renewables. Wind, alone, provided 3.5%. Look for that to go up next year as we just installed a bunch of new wind capacity.

          Yes, we could power our cars with bio-oil from algae. If someone figures out how to make it in ample quantities at a reasonable price. At this point in time algae oil is simply an unproven idea.

          As for getting our fuel from food crops, even giving up meat…

          “If you were to take every gram of crops produced anywhere in the world for all purposes — and that includes every grape, every ton of wheat, every ton of soybeans and corn — and you were to use that for biofuels and essentially stop eating, those crops would produce about 14 percent of world energy,” says Timothy Searchinger, an associate research scholar at Princeton University.

          G. Philip Robertson and colleagues at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station have been looking at plants that don’t require farm fields.

          “First, we discovered that the grasses and flowers that take over fields once you stop farming produce a fair amount of biomass, especially if you provide them a little bit of fertilizer,” Robertson says.

          Robertson and his colleagues surveyed the Midwest acre by acre and identified 27 million acres of marginal farmland where these plants could grow, and where the acreage falls into a compact enough area that someone might want to build a refinery to produce biofuels.

          They figured that it would become too expensive to transport this heavy and bulky plant material more than 50 miles, from field to refinery.

          “At the end of the day, we discovered we could produce enough biomass to supply 30 or so of these potential biorefineries,” Robertson says.

          The 27 million acres identified in the latest study would provide less than 0.5 percent of (US) national energy demand,

          Around 200 million tonnes of waste is produced in UK every year which is capable of producing 4% of the total UK’s electricity and water needs.

          41% of all US energy is electricity. 28% of all US energy is used for transportation.

          EVs are about 90% efficient. ICEVs about 20%

          • Richard

            Please see my reply to Patrick above. My whole point is that swapping one form of pollution for another potentially more environmentally harmful one is not a solution.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Were that what was happening everywhere and in the future then you would have a valid point.

            See my longer reply elsewhere in the thread.

          • Zachary Shahan

            But the point you’re missing is very clearly this: it’s not an even swap — EVs (even on a dirty grid) are much cleaner. If you want to encourage people to bike & use transit, go for it! But as far as automobile options go, there’s no beating an EV today. (Also note that a lot of EV owners are in states with more renewable energy on the grid, and it seems the large majority actually have solar panels on their roof.)

          • Richard

            If EVs off the grid are more efficient and cleaner from a total environmental impact standpoint then I stand corrected. Please keep in mind that electric power station efficiency especially in the case of coal is 30%. In other words 70% is wasted in the form of heat and other environmentally toxic byproducts. If this is accounted for as part of the “dirty grid” then I would concede in favor of EV vs clean diesel technology.

          • Zachary Shahan

            Yep, UCS has done a thorough study on the matter. I guess a lot of people still haven’t seen that (and you missed it when first reading the article).

          • Bob_Wallace

            ICEVs waste 80% of their fuel in the form of heat.

            We’re learning that even “clean” diesel may be harming our health.

            Once more, don’t concentrate on the grid as it is now, or especially yesterday. We are very likely in the early years of a massive move away from fossil fuels. Just real the posts on this web site for a while. What you’ll see is stories about how grids around the world are changing and about new developments in clean technology which will drive those changes faster and faster.

            Go up to the top of the page and click on the “Wind” and “Solar” sections that Zach has put together. Look at how renewables are growing.

          • rickster

            Yes it is a solution, Why don’t you check Shanghai China, The smog caused by auto emissions in there is staggering, would be minimized if all the cars were electric. At the coal plant is easier to control emissions rather than control emissions in millions of cars. Besides even if 100% of the electricity used by an EV is coal based the emission is smaller than and internal combustion engine. Also notice Coal plants are being closed every year,and that is awesome. Check this analysis by UCLA

        • Patrick

          Electric cars are dramatically more energy efficient simply because electric engines are more efficient. Most importantly, batteries create a standardized interface that separates energy generation from it’s use. It’s engineering 101: build an interface so the two systems can evolve independently.

          • Richard

            Agreed if you just look at it from an EV standpoint. For example, there
            are people driving around in hydrogen powered cars believing they have a
            zero carbon footprint. If you just look at the car, with water as
            exhaust, it is true. However, when you look at the energy required to
            produce and compress the hydrogen, nothing can be further from the

            We need to look at the whole picture. Hybrid cars like
            the Prius have batteries and an internal combustion engine. Should you
            look at the carbon footprint in producing one of these cars, I’m sure
            you’ll find it’s greater than producing a diesel equivalent vehicle. My
            point is simply this: ‘Swapping one form of pollution for another is
            not a solution’.

            I’m open to finding the best energy efficiency
            combined with the lowest manufacturing and operational carbon
            footprint. In the meantime please hang on to the insults.

          • Bob_Wallace

            If you’re looking for the cleanest option right now it is not going to be one size fits all.

            If, for example you have a commute within the range of an EV such as the LEAF and live in a place with a very green grid, say Idaho, or perhaps work nights and could charge your ride with rooftop solar then an EV is for you.

            If, however, you live in a utility service area that uses lots of coal then a high MPG gas/diesel might be a better choice.

            But if you’re wondering what the future best choice would be it’s very likely it will be EVs.

            We, all around to world, are greening our grids. Wind and solar technologies have just developed to the point at which they make economic sense and they will continue to drop in price. We’ve got very promising battery technology coming out of the lab, we should see affordable 200 mile range batteries in the near future.

            We can’t make liquid fuel as cheaply as we can make electricity. Driving an EV with US average priced electricity is like driving a 50 MPG gasmobile on $1.80/gallon fuel.

            ($0.12/kWh x 0.3 kWh/mile = $0.036/mile.)
            (50 miles x $0.036/mile = $1.80/gallon.)

            We cannot, even if we had the land and water, make biofuel for $2/gallon.

            We can’t make and distribute hydrogen as cheaply as we can electricity.

            Furthermore, the price of electricity will drop. EVs charging on smart meters will use the cheapest available electricity, not average price.

            Have you ever torn down and reassembled an internal combustion engine? If you have then you know how many carefully designed and manufactured separate pieces there are. All made of metal which means lots of ore extracted and processed into various different metals.

            I’m pretty sure you’ve changed batteries in a flashlight. Just a bunch of identical containers filled with some chemicals. Very much simpler, easier to automate, very high volume production of identical components – that leads to lower cost manufacturing.

            When economies of scale kick in the purchase price of an EV should fall below that of a gasmobile.

          • Patrick

            Hybrids are a bridge technology. They are supporting and creating a battery market, advancing fuel efficiency technology, etc. Short term evolutionary steps are never perfect.

            Hydrogen cars are in their infancy and can be made efficient. Just because they aren’t perfect now doesn’t mean they can’t be perfect later.

          • Patrick

            The whole picture is that electric cars are more efficient. Even if we’re simply trading oil for coal, both generating electricity at 30% efficiency, electric cars use that energy more efficiently. They don’t use gas while idling, they can be smaller and lighter by removing the engine and all of the systems that support, etc.

            Most importantly, we’re currently building millions of shitty power generation plants (cars). By separating power generation from usage we can allow new (and regionally variant) power sources to evolve and contribute to vehicles. We can stop being blocked by the infrastructure switching cost problem.

    • Zachary Shahan

      Richard, if you’re comparing an EV to a normal vehicle, the manufacturing impact isn’t going to be noticeably different.

      Regarding the source of power used to generate the electricity, there’s a whole section on that above that you seem to have missed. (Some people seem more interested in criticizing a technology than reading about it.)

      What’s your real beef with EVs? Do you work in a competing industry? Or just an avid FOX News viewer? (I’m not asking this judgmentally — just very curious why you’d skip reading an article and then criticize the technology it’s covering.)

      • Richard

        Zachary: I have no beef with EVs and do not work for a competing industry. Furthermore, I agree that EVs are efficient but ultimately the energy comes predominantly from fossil fuel and that was my point. My only criticism is that we seem to be swapping one form of pollution for another with a potentially greater impact on the environment. This is not a solution. Yes I did read the article and please see my comments to others in this same discussion thread. Cars with built in solar panels that do not need electricity from the grid would be a step in the right direction. Energy derived from methane gas might be another alternative. The problem is not harnessing the energy, it’s producing it in a sustainable and eco-friendly way.

        The fact that a BMW-520d diesel beat a Toyota Prius in all round fuel economy makes a very good point for diesel vs hybrid vehicles.

        • Zachary Shahan

          If you look at the EPA’s latest ranking of the most efficient vehicles, the top 9 are EVs and the 10th is a PHEV:

          I’m personally not that into cars. I prefer bikes and transit for many reasons. But I’ve become a huge EV supporter because they are much cleaner — and a lot of people are going to own/drive cars for a long time to come. I had questions about their ‘superiority’ and I’ve had those resolved.

        • Bob_Wallace

          ” we seem to be swapping one form of pollution for another with a potentially greater impact on the environment”

          Again, that would be true if we were likely to continue using large amounts of fossil fuel to make electricity. But we won’t.

          We will continue to make more and more of our electricity using renewable technology. Let’s look at what happened to date:

          2003 2.0% electricity from non-hydro renewables.
          2006 2.4%
          2009 3.7%
          2012 5.4% (first half of year)

          That is an accelerating curve and I believe that is is only the very early shallow end of a curve that is about to drastically shoot up. We just installed a lot of wind generation in 2012 and we should see a very large boost in solar in 2013 due to recent price drops.

          BTW, those numbers do not include end-user rooftop solar, only utility-side solar.

          “Cars with built in solar panels that do not need electricity from the grid would be a step in the right direction.”

          Current (affordable) solar panels would not generate enough power to drive very far. And drivers would have to be careful about where they park, avoid shade/garages/etc.

          Better to connect panels to the grid and charge off the grid. Especially with late night wind power.

          “Energy derived from methane gas might be another alternative.”

          Methane (natural gas) is not environmentally friendly. It’s better than coal as it produces less CO2 per unit electricity, avoids the mercury/etc. problems from coal, and is dispatchable.

          Methane is something that we unfortunately need to use right now to fill in around wind and solar while we develop better storage technology.

          If you wanted to be environmentally friendly what you could do is to buy an EV or PHEV and put some panels on your roof. Produce as much electricity as you take off the grid to charge your batteries. Less fossil fuels will be burned while your batteries are charging.

          If you could do your driving with a LEAF you would be causing zero fossil fuels to be burned.

          If you needed extra range frequently enough to make a LEAF unusable you could do your first ~40 miles each day with electricity (make your own) and the rest at about 50 MPG.

        • bymaak

          What I dont understand. These cars have room for 4 or 5 people..most anyways. But…WHY is everyone comparing them to 27-32 mpg cars?..My 2007 and the new 2014 Corolla get 41-43 mpg and only cost 15,000. To pay 30-50,000 up front that will buy alot of gas for a car that gets 40mpg. Furthermore Federal Standards are increasing MPG to 50 mpg by 2025. and yes thats combined city/highway. EVEN Trucks by 2015 will HAVE to get 32mpg combined in order to be sold on American soil. I’m not saying Electric is the way to go. but how well do they perform up here in Montana with 30″ of snowfall a year?…where do we put the Block Heater when the temps drop to -30 degrees?…and do they have Heaters/AC for summer and winter driving?
          I would LOVE nothing more than to get an EV vehicle but lets be reasonable, I make 40,000 a year and to buy a car that costs 30-50k is just stupid to me. Houses up here are going for 150k-200k, Id rather put a nice down payment on some land than pay that kind of money for an electric car. Id rather have a corolla/civic/echo/focus for 1/2 the price. Plus i know it will start at 30 below in my driveway when a blizzard hits. Until these prices drop the average “Joe” like myself will never put one in the driveway until the year 2050 or 2060 when the Internal Combustion Engine is in a museum!

          • Bob_Wallace

            If you leave your EV plugged in then you can pre-heat (or air-condition) the cabin and batteries using grid power. Even better than a block heater that warms only your engine. Once you start driving an EV the batteries give off heat which can be used to help heat the cabin. EVs are starting to use heat pumps which is a much more efficient way to heat and cool the cabin.

            Right now the Nissan LEAF is $21,300 including the federal subsidy. Prices will keep falling.

            Compare your Corella to the LEAF, not a luxury car like the Tesla S.

            People compare EVs to the average US car, ~25 MPG, and to the Prius. ~50 MPG. Both are valid comparisons as long as they are clear which they are using.

            The federal standard of 50 MPG is for “fleet average”. To hit that mark car manufacturers will have to include a lot of EVs to make up for lower mileage larger cars. Unless they are all EV/PHEVs by then, which is likely.
            An EV with snow tires is likely to do better in snow than an ICEV – it will be heavier. Better traction. And once we start getting intelligent four wheel drive like the Mercedes has then nothing will be better in snow.
            If you do the math you’ll see that an EV is cheaper to drive over the life of the car than an ICEV. Cost per mile is one quarter to one half as much. Maintenance costs are close to zero. (No oil changes, no mechanical stuff to service and replace. Much less brake wear.)

            Set up a spreadsheet and compare a LEAF with a Corella or Civic. You may be surprised to see that it will cost you more to drive a gasmobile than an EV.

        • rickster

          It seems you are one of those anti-EV evangelists that go all over the internet looking for articles and try to inject you half baked theories trying to scare future EV buyers. The fact is that most of the people who come and comment here are EV lovers, like myself. Your comments are not doing any impact, as matter of fact those comments are starting to become pointless. Yes, we understand you believe in the oil industry. We Don’t. sir go right ahead and use your gas guzzing car, feel free to fill it up! and take a 500mi trip..great~!. But, please dont try to cover the sun with you tumb, by trying to say that EV are more polluting than gasoline cars. That is a non-sense myth.

    • Robert Flanary

      This is simply not true. Wind power is more available at night, when people are most likely to charge their cars, and it is very cheap. By going to a real time pricing plan you can charge your car for 2 to 3 cents per kilowatt and you will be encouraging the development of wind farms. You will also be helping to put coal plants out of business.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Wind probably won’t stay that cheap. It’s cheap now because there is little demand at the time wind farms are often the most productive. What’s often happening is that coal and nuclear plants are forced to underbid wind because they can’t shut down and have to sell their power even at a loss. They’ve got to go low enough to get under the wind subsidy and force wind to curtail its output.

        As EVs come on the grid demand for late night power will increase and it’s likely rates will rise to about the point where wind can make a profit. Since new wind is likely to be in the 3 to 5 cent range and a few pennies have to be added for transmission, distribution and profit I would expect nighttime rates to hit around 8 cents. Perhaps there will be enough profit in selling peak hour power to let wind cut their price a bit, but I don’t think 2 to 3 cents will hold.

        And, remember, the 2.2 cent subsidy is almost certain to go away. That is currently helping lower the price of nighttime electricity.

        Eight cents for charging would still be a sweet price. Like running a 50 mile per gallon gasmobile on $1.20/gallon fuel.

  • Anoni

    I would include a list of current Federal, state, & other incentives to lower prices.

    Tesla has a future cost of battery prices of around $150 per kWh.
    Bottom of fact page for S model.

    An approximate cost per mile (cost of car / range )
    An approximate cost of ownership

    • Zachary Shahan

      Thanks. Will try to get around to digging up as much info on incentives as possible.

  • JPnSD

    You use confusing terms. PEV is Plug-in electric vehicle – generic term that means all plug-in vehicles (all electric and plug-in hyrid electric vehicle (PHEV). You try to indicate that PEV means PHEV only…it does not! Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) DOES NOT HAVE A PLUG CONNEVTION! It is the run of the mill hybrid like the standard prius that has been out there for 10 years plus.

    • Zachary Shahan

      I’m well aware of the differences you write about here. Will review the text to see if there is some confusion.

    • Zachary Shahan

      was very off & confusing — not sure what was going on when i initially wrote that segment. fixed.

  • lee colleton

    If I may humbly suggest some horizontal rules between the pictures and associated range/efficiency ratings. It’s a bit confusing which numbers go with what picture.

    • Zachary Shahan

      will try to clean things up soon. thnx

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  • Johaar

    Hi guys 
    Thanks for another great article.
    ps the updates received are really appreciated…keep it up .

    • Zachary Shahan

      Greatly appreciate it, thanks! Such comments make my day, or week :D

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  • Patrick

    If you’re going to develop content in this page then you’ll need NYT style navigation/table of contents. 

    I’d really like to see EV battery recycling topics covered. I’m a cleantech fan and I find EV battery recycling worrisome. 

    • Zachary Shahan

      Thanks — yeah, need to figure out how that works (or get someone who does). have another potential/likely solution, too.

      EV battery recycling — good topic. I don’t have much info on that, so would need to do some digging. Let me know if you’ve got anything.

      • Patrick

        I’ve read some stuff about it and it sounds a bit ugly. The bottom line seems to be that as we reduce the cost of batteries we also reduce the value of batteries (by definition) and thereby recycling becomes unprofitable. Unprofitable recycling, without mandatory recycling laws means that all these batteries get buried in landfills.. 

        Still, I’m more concerned about carbon than old batteries in landfills, but it’s important to be informed when people ask questions about this type of thing. 

        As a reader of cleantechnica, I rely on cleantechnica articles to be well researched, cited (please do this as much as possible), and accurate. I don’t want to preach false gospel….

        • Bob_Wallace

          If we end up using lithium-ion batteries, the lithium will have value.  It’s likely more concentrated than lithium ‘in the wild’.

          It is possible that we will have to add a small charge to all sorts of products in order to make their recycling more profitable than dumping them in landfills.  That is not something specific to batteries.

        • Zachary Shahan

          Very good point. And i agree, on all fronts.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Batteries won’t likely decrease in cost because we use less expensive materials, more likely due to more efficient manufacturing.  

          I did run across a claim a couple hours ago that it was cheaper to mine lithium than to recover it from used batteries.  That could be the case and if it is then one practice might be to isolate used electrolyte for future extraction.   

          A properly designed landfill might be a future efficient mine.

          Or bite the bullet and charge a recycling fee to even things out.  

          • Tei

            Lithium should be lower in price till, everyone has a EV till then they can recycle it.

        • František Kubiš

          Even if battery cost will decrease, recycling still makes a good sense because lithium, cobalt and other materials are (probably) easier to recover from batteries than from Earth crust as raw material. Tesla already stated they use battery recycling because it is cheaper source of raw material (which can be sold to battery manufacturers) than mine new raw materials.

          Tesla Motors point of view:

          • Patrick Kee

            Thanks for the link. That’s good news to hear from Tesla. Anyways, carbon is the problem so battery waste is secondary.

        • aligatorhardt

          I don’t think cost of recycling will be a problem, as typical present car batteries are much cheaper and they are recycled now.

      • František Kubiš
        • Zachary Shahan


      • Guy Marsden

        Lead-acid batteries have been the single most recycled product since they were first used in automobiles, and they are still being nearly 100% recycled. The issue is HOW they get recycled and by whom. The process has shifted to the 3rd world where it gets ugly, but the truth remains that almost all lead-acid vehicle batteries are recycled, but perhaps not under ideal conditions for workers.

    • Bob_Wallace

      There are not enough EV batteries to worry about yet.  But let’s see how it might play out….

      When EV batteries decline to the point where they hold only an 80% charge some people will want to swap them out.

      Utilities want those “80%” batteries.  They will rack them up in inexpensive real estate and use them for grid smoothing and storage.  

      Then when they are truly worn out they will be recycled.  Toyota already has a recycling system for their Prius hybrid batteries.  And we commonly recycle lead acid batteries.  Lead-acids are one of our most successively recycled products.

      It’s hard to say exactly how the process will work out.  We’re years away from having enough used up EV batteries to be concerned.  It would seem that if people are already planning options then we shouldn’t be overly concerned.

      We don’t yet know the dominate battery chemistry.  Will we be recovering the lithium from lithium-ion batteries or will be be separating the materials in zinc-air batteries?  Or will the electrolyte of choice be sodium-ion?  

      From a couple years back… 

      • Zachary Shahan

        As i’m reading this comment, I’m remembering another where someone said batteries had the leading recycling rate. Something to look up / verify, but it’s clear that many people know batteries don’t go to the landfill and should be recycled. Sort of common sense now.

        Not to say everyone has common sense… but, by definition, most people do. :D

      • BigB

        EV batteries are nade of modules, each of which conbtains cells.
        In a swap-able battery concept the battery owner (service provider, not the customer) will take those 80%ers off the rack, and will send them for remodelling with newer, higher density modules, alllowing for longer trips and less swaps. The modules will then be sold for large arrays of cheap storage, for home business or utility, especially solar utilities. It will take many years before those cells will actually be recycled

    • John Sarter

      Patrick, most of the late life cycle batteries will be used for stationary energy storage for micro-grid home systems. Afterward they are 100% dismantles and 90+% recycleable.

  • ashevillere

    Geese… you are so good at this. Motorcycles next? mike d

    • Zachary Shahan

      haha.. :D (blush)

      was thinking about motorcycles, scooters, and electric bikes while doing this one. looks like a much bigger project, but the vehicles are even cleaner. worthwhile one, i think. if you’ve got any info to share on those, drop the links!! :D

      • ficknfecker

        Zachary, Absolutely amazing information. Thanks for sharing, please keep them coming! :)

  • Fran Sullivan-Fahs

    Way to put the info out there!

    • Zachary Shahan


      • jstack6

        Why is the GM SPARK not mentioned? It is supposed to be the range leader of mid size and priced EVs !

        Also you would think all EV makers would offer 2 or 3 ranges of EV battery systems like Tesla does ? Maybe next batteries continue to improve. Note thermal management of the batteries make them last much longer, life of vehicle !

        PS always lease EVs since they change so fast and keep dropping in cost.

        • Zachary Shahan

          gross oversight. will add.

          • Zachary Shahan

            I just realized why it wasn’t included. It doesn’t come up until summer. But just went ahead and added it anyway.

        • ananth

          looking for your views, for this unique product developed for rural applications, low inititial investment, highly useful for carrying agriculture produce, animal, men etc.

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