2013 Tesla Model S
2013 Tesla Model S
The competition: Nissan Leaf

Electric-powered vehicles were one of 2011's big disappointments, as early adopters struggled with cruising ranges that were more abbreviated than advertised. Will 2012 be different? Tesla launched its four-door model S with appropriate hullabaloo a few weeks ago, wooing journalists with 20-minute test drives. Now it is learning about mass production the hard way, slashing its third-quarter output by half to fix quality problems. Meanwhile, Nissan is getting ready to sharply boost output of the Leaf to 150,000 a year along with the batteries that power it. Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn has staked his legacy on Leaf and isn't likely to let it fail.

Advantage: Leaf

By Alex Taylor III, senior editor-at-large @FortuneMagazine - Last updated August 01 2012: 5:45 AM ET
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The midyear in autos: 10 ups and downs

As the old philosopher said - no good deed goes unpunished. Here's a roundup of this year's car news highlights so far, along with their companion lows.

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