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CLEAN TECHNOLOGY:

Growing an American electric car industry, a tale of two companies

Not long after the auto bailouts, the financial crash and the election of President Obama, General Motors Co. had a choice to make. It had designed an electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, to prove it could build something besides gas guzzlers. To make this car even close to affordable, it would need a battery unlike any that had been made before. To discover that battery, GM had been working with two companies, one Korean and one American. And the time had come to choose.

AUTOS:

Are consumers really ready for plug-ins?

While many potential consumers are getting their first glimpse of plug-in electric vehicles at the auto shows across the country, it may be a while before they actually start buying the cars. More EVs are on display than ever before, and the press coverage is heating up. At the Washington Auto Show, the Ford Focus Electric, slated to hit the market later this year, received the 2011 Green Car Vision Award. Ford also recently unveiled its C-Max Energi, the first plug-in SUV of its kind. Across the convention halls, plug-in models from Nissan, Chevrolet and others were scattered throughout for the public to see.

AUTOS:

EV boosters press Congress, states to continue buyer incentives

Every good car salesman knows the best way to seal the deal: Knock a bit off the sticker price. That strategy also works for state governments trying to promote electric vehicles (EV). But electric-car boosters fear government rebates may be snatched up by enthusiastic early buyers, leaving little for more skeptical consumers who will need incentives to steer them toward electric-car showrooms.

TRANSPORTATION:

MIT panel says charging infrastructure, not technology, may be the bigger roadblock for electric vehicles

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology report, issued yesterday, concludes that creating a nationwide infrastructure for electric vehicles appears to be a bigger challenge than producing affordable batteries to power the cars. The report, authored by professors Ernest Moniz and John Deutch, summarizes an MIT symposium last year on the electric vehicle. Symposium participants generally agreed that a comprehensive federal policy to limit carbon emissions would be the most effective boost for electric vehicle development, stimulating steadily growing consumer purchases and moving the United States toward low-carbon or carbon-free generation of electricity to charge the cars.

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About This Report

E&E examines automakers' efforts to fulfill President Obama's vision of putting 1 million plug-in hybrids on the road.

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