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Do you own a plug-in car? Do you even know anybody who does? Probably not. But that might very well change this year. Electric cars aren't new, of course. Mitsubishi's all-electric i-MiEV has been available in several countries since 2010. The US $35 200 Nissan Leaf, another pure electric vehicle, has been selling in Japan and the United States for more than a year. The Chevy Volt is also available in America, as is the Tesla Roadster, a $109 000 toy for the rich. And yet, despite the intense press coverage and feverish anticipation, relatively few of these cars have found their way into garages and driveways. In 2012, however, a big influx of plug-in cars will help these vehicles start shedding their novelty image and in some places may even justify the construction of public charging stations.