North American International Auto Show

Chrysler's Electric Comeback

Chrysler plans to begin producing electric cars for North America in 2010. Two concepts at this week's auto show give visitors a glimpse of what the electric Chryslers will be like.

The 200C EV gives urban commuters a zero-emissions alternative. The car is capable of running up to forty miles on pure-electric power. A small gasoline engine and electric generator extend the car's range to four hundred miles.

The commuter concept is a showcase for Chrysler's Advance Interior Design Studio. A large touch-screen in the instrument panel serves as the connectivity hub for audio, visual and information systems.

Passengers can use the touch-screen to surf the internet, scroll through their personal media libraries, schedule maintenance, or send directions to the driver.

In addition to its commuter car, Chrysler took the wraps off the Jeep Patriot EV, electric-powered sport-utility vehicle.

The automaker expects to have half a million electric-powered cars on the road by 2013.

General Motors and Fuel Efficiency

General Motors staged a road rally for seventeen of its new models, including the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox, 2010 Cadillac SRX, 2010 Buick Lacross and Cadillac Converj concept.

Chevrolet plans to bring the fuel-efficient Spark mini car to the States, following its European rollout in 2010. Based on the Beat concept, the Chevrolet Spark hits American showrooms in 2011.

A production version of the Orlando show car that debuted at last fall's Paris Motor Show rolls out in 2011. The seven-seat multi-purpose vehicle combines the attributes of a sport-utility vehicle, minivan and wagon.

Other Chevrolets in the rally included the production Volt extended-range electric car, the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze, and the 2010 Camaro.

The Cadillac Converj takes extended-range electric car technology to the luxury market. The four-passenger grand touring coupe runs up to forty miles on pure electric power.

A new CTS Sport Wagon that goes into production this spring adds interior versatility to the high-performance platform, with more cargo space and available all-wheel drive.

A new two-mode Saturn Vue hybrid uses the same technology currently available on the Chevrolet Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade hybrid.

The Pontiac Solstice coupe features a removable roof in lieu of the current soft top.

Plug-in Escape

A plug-in version of the Escape sport-utility vehicle was one of several next-generation hybrids on the Ford stand.

The automaker is currently road testing a fleet of Escape Hybrid plug-ins in Europe, to assess the interconnectivity of the cars with the existing electric grid.

Ford is partnering with Magna International to bring a small, lithium battery-powered electric car to market by 2011. The car will have a range of up to a hundred miles.

A battery electric commercial van rolls out in 2010.

Audi A3 Gets Clean Diesel

The Audi A3, an Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year finalist, gets a clean diesel option this year. The turbo-diesel A3 combines sporty performance with exceptional fuel economy: about forty miles-per-gallon on the highway.

The Audi A3 TDI hits dealer showrooms this April.

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