Where is the automobile headed in our gradually warming world? Fully electric like the Chevy Spark, Nissan Leaf, or Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive? Plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt, Ford Energi models, or Porsche 918? Flying cars like the Terrafugia Transition? Something else entirely? One thing's for sure: Wherever it's headed, folks buying at the pointy end of the price pyramid will get there first and help field-test the tech for the rest of us.
If you have both the means and the inclination to live your automotive life on the green-tech bleeding edge -- or if you need the world to think that's how you roll—allow us to present the two most compelling options available today.
The reigning green-car champ is the surprisingly high-performance, fully electric Tesla Model S P85+. The car world's lone successful Silicon Valley startup earned Motor Trend's 2013 Car of the Year calipers on the strength of its M5-like driving dynamics, giant iPad-esque user interface, innovative optional 5+2 seating, front and rear trunks, and epic 265-mile EPA-rated battery range. And during the year we've spent driving a long-term Model S, the expanding network of Superchargers has made long-distance electric travel (at least in our bottom half of California) a surprising reality.