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Zap Xebra
Zap Xebra
Cost: $11,700
Tax credit: About $1,200*
The Xebra looks like a tiny car, but it has only three wheels. That matters because under the law, a car isn't a car unless it has four wheels.

The lack of a fourth wheel makes the Xebra technically more like a motorcycle, which means it doesn't need airbags or crash-safety gear, and they can ride on any highway with no maximum speed limit.

But buyers need to be aware that, despite its appearance, the Xebra doesn't offer the crash protection of even a small car.

Under the new rules, buyers of two-wheeled or three-wheeled electric vehicles like the Xebra can get a tax credit for up to 10% of the vehicles' cost or $2,500, whichever is less. Tax credits for two- and three-wheeled vehicles don't take effect until next year, but a Zap spokesman said, those who buy this year will be able to apply for the credit in 2010.

NEXT: EV Innovations Flash

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