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GEM Car
GEM Car
Cost: $7,000 to $13,000
Tax credit: $2,500 for 2009, $700 to $1,300 after 2009*
Global Electric Motorcars, a subsidiary of Chrysler, LLC, is said to be the biggest seller of electric vehicles in America, and by no small margin.

The Electric Drive Transportation Association, an industry group for plug-in car makers, estimates that there have been about 60,000 low-speed electric cars sold in America. Of those, 40,000 are GEM cars.

GEM specializes in "Neighborhood Electric Vehicles," light-weight cars with a top speed of just 25 miles per hour. Even rolling downhill, they can't go faster. They're also not allowed on roads with speed limits above 40 mph in many states.

Because of the speed restrictions, NEVs don't have to meet the crash safety requirements of a real car. That means they can be much lighter and use smaller batteries and are therefore much cheaper.

Under current rules, which remain in effect until next year, GEMs are eligible for a $2,500 credit. Next year, according to GEM, new rules take effect under which they would be limited to 10% of the purchase price up to $2,500.

NEXT: Zap Xebra

Last updated February 23 2009: 1:53 PM ET
*Based on reading of legislation. IRS rules not yet finalized.
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