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This Is the Year of the Electric Car

Paul Sakuma/AP File Photo

At the beginning of 2013, the stock price for US electric carmaker Tesla was $32. Now it’s sitting at around $150, after the company’s Model S sedan was named American automotive magazine Car and Driver’s car of the year. And really, that’s just the beginning; Tesla will be shipping 40,000 cars a year by the end of 2014, and it will roll out a cheaper Model X crossover vehicle.

Tesla’s success has helped burnish the image of electric cars, paving the way for just about every major manufacturer to roll out their own models. General Motors, Toyota, Ford, BMWFiatHonda and Volkswagen will hit about every price point a buyer of a new, mid-range sedan might want. Even more affordable electric vehicles, from Chevrolet,  KiaMitsubishi and the BMW-owned Smart, will spread the technology further; a $20,000 electric vehicle may seem worth it to the 42% of American drivers who could switch to electric cars without changing their driving habits.

This year will also hail impressive new technologies in electric cars, including a solar-powered vehicle from Ford that can absorb enough solar energy in a single day to travel 21 miles.

This story is Part 5 of a Quartz series.

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