Do Plug-In Cars Mean Electric Vehicle Industry Is Fractured?

That's what Consumer Reports' Eric Evart contends in this look at the electric-drive vehicles at the 2010 Detroit auto show.

Published: 13-Jan-2010

With conspicuously-absent automakers leaving floor space at Cobo Center empty, the Detroit auto show organizers must be thanking their stars for electric cars. They filled two-thirds of Cobo Center’s lower floor with an electric-car demonstration track, an “Electric Avenue,” upstairs, and a smattering of vehicles spread throughout the main display area.

Some of these products, however, aren’t designed for mass appeal. For example, I drove the Commuter Cars Tango electric on the demonstration course downstairs. It’s a quick, tandem two-seater, but it looks like a Volkswagen Golf that had a run-in with a giant band saw.

There are divisions shaping up in the electric car movement, both between major automakers and start-up entrepreneurs such as those competing in the Automotive X-Prize competition, and the major automakers taking more or less aggressive approaches to electrifying cars.

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