Detroit Auto Show Abuzz with Electric Models

Nearly all the plug-ins being plugged in Detroit (except BYD's) use advanced lithium-ion batteries, an exciting but costly and, according to experts, still-developing technology that needs more testing.

Published: 15-Jan-2008

DETROIT -- To judge by the vehicles being touted at the North American International Auto Show this week, an extension cord may well become a standard car feature.

Irvine-based Fisker Automotive unveiled a luxury sports car here Monday that it says can travel 50 miles on a battery charged by plugging it into standard, 120-volt current. The $80,000, rear-wheel-drive Karma will be able to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than six seconds and top out at 125 mph, the company says. It plans to start selling it by the end of next year.

Minutes later, General Motors Corp. unveiled a prototypeplug-in Saturn Vue crossover vehicle, and on Sunday night, Toyota Motor Corp. said it would market a plug-in version of its popular Prius hybrid by 2010. Chrysler rolled out three concept plug-in cars,and even a Chinese automaker, BYD Auto, announced what it called a "dual mode" hybrid that has not one but two power plugs -- one for standard, eight-hour recharging, and another for quicker repowering.

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