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Energy

Electric Avenue

Amid a welter of high-profile announcements, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids will remain rare sights.

The talk at this year’s Detroit Auto Show was all about electric cars and plug-in hybrids–hybrid cars whose batteries can be recharged from wall sockets. But both types of vehicles will remain uncommon on U.S. highways for several years. Although both Ford and Chrysler have said that they will release electric vehicles in 2010, they had disclosed no further details at press time. Several companies expect to beat Chevrolet’s ballyhooed Volt plug-in to market but are limiting production runs and plan to gather data on how their vehicles are used before broader commercial releases. Other companies are concentrating on small, sometimes eccentric-looking vehicles for city commuting, but it’s still unclear whether drivers will embrace the idea. See a photo gallery of soon-to-be released electric cars and plug-in hybrids.

Think city: Think says that 1,600 of its small, all-electric commuter cars are already on the road, but the company barely staved off bankruptcy in late 2008.

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