BMW stole a march on some more ballyhooed electric-car programs by releasing an electric version of its Mini at the end of 2008. Where most of its competitors are engineering electric cars from scratch, the German automaker was able to adapt an existing electric drive system from California’s AC Propulsion to fit the Mini’s chassis. Five hundred of the cars are available for lease for a year, during which BMW will collect data about their use in preparation for a larger rollout.
Product: Mini E
Cost: $850 a month for a one-year lease, insurance included