The electric car is at the starting line, and the gun is about to sound. Now automakers must prove the technology and the market are ready.
After years of talk and prototypes, some automobile makers believe the electric vehicle is about to become more than just a science experiment.
Renault will unveil a lineup this week that includes a purely electric sedan, without a backup internal combustion engine. Renault says the vehicle will be in showrooms by 2011.
General Motors is offering the Chevrolet Volt as one of its comeback cars. The Volt is an electric vehicle with a backup gasoline-run generator for longer trips.
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BMW will be unveiling the Vision EfficientDynamics, a plug-in diesel-electric concept car. And Volkswagen is adding an electric version to its Up concept car.
Still, questions about relatively limited range and high costs vex electric vehicles.
Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi of America, told the Web portal MSN that the estimated $40,000 base price for the Chevrolet Volt smacked of fantasy. "No one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a car that competes with" conventional sedans that cost around $25,000, he said.
- The New York Times