Automakers Touting Electric Hybrids

2004 Detroit Auto Show turns out to be major venue to environmentally friendly vehicles in North America

Published: 16-Jan-2004

After several years of seeing gasoline-electric hybrids in concept form and powering smaller cars, Americans who want to drive the more environmentally friendly vehicles soon will be able to buy the first trucks and sport utility vehicles powered by the technology.

Automakers are ramping up the introduction of hybrids this year. At the North American International Auto Show, several touted those and other green innovations, such as efforts to tweak traditional engines to improve fuel economy and attempts to persuade U.S. drivers to give diesels another chance.

 But environmentalists complain hybrids have been slower to reach production than initially predicted. And they fear the industrywide push toward developing vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells, while offering potential long-term benefits, will overshadow improvements that can be made now.

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