Editor's pick: Originally published Jan. 4.
In the U.S., Tesla (TSLA) sits atop the electric car market. Like its namesake, Nicolai Tesla, the company is a master innovator that has moved the center of automotive innovation from Detroit to Silicon Valley. Its cars are not just some of the best products out there, they are also some of the most attractive.
Tesla is far from the only electric car opportunity out there, however. In fact, electric cars are nothing new. The first electric car emerged in the 19th century before the combustion engine ousted it in favor of efficiency and high speeds.
Electric vehicles are poised to explode over the next few years. Even old-guard manufacturers are preparing for the transition back from the combustion engine to a cleaner, efficient electric engine. Following are five electric car companies you need to keep an eye on (and in some cases, invest in). Although Tesla is now a household word, you may not have heard of some of the others.TSLA data by YCharts
Tesla is the go-to investment opportunity in electric cars. Investors drove the share prices up from $17 in 2010 to $200 a share in 2015. The stock is currently trading near $230. The share price is based on long-term expectations for this company to grow substantially and to begin delivering stable profits. Investors who get in now could benefit greatly going forward -- if Tesla can manage to ramp up production and sales as hoped.