SPECIAL REPORT: TOP 10 TECH CARS 2010

For at least a decade, carmakers have been professing their deep and abiding interest in electric-drive vehicles whenever possible. But until recently, it wasn’t always clear which of them were really sincere.

Today every last one of them seems sincere. As this year’s “Top 10 Tech Cars” package shows, ever more varied hybrids are going into mass production, along with—you betcha—a few all-electric cars.

Some of the electric-drive machines aspire beyond mere greenness to heart-pounding performance, an aspiration that may seem strange to those taught to view electric cars as spacious, all-weather golf carts. But performance is indeed a logical goal, given the instant-on torque that electric motors provide.

While electrons may now be a recurrent theme of our annual Top 10 automotive reports, we do not slight the internal-combustion engine, which has lots of life—and technological enhancements—to come. And for those who don’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about whether they’re treading lightly enough on the planet’s roads, we include two ultraperformance German sports cars that run purely on gasoline and adrenaline. One can easily be yours. If you’re willing to trade in your house for it.