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GM to try electric hybrid again?


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From CNN and Reuters:

GM likely to launch new plug-in hybrid - CNN.com

DETROIT (Reuters) -- General Motors Corp. will likely unveil a prototype

plug-in hybrid at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in

January, a local paper reported Friday.

The advanced technology vehicle would have an extended driving range on

battery power and would also have a diesel or gasoline engine that could

power the car when the battery was low, the Detroit News said, citing

unnamed GM officials.

Plug-in hybrids are gas-electric vehicles that can recharge their

batteries with an extension cord and a normal wall outlet.

GM, which is trying to recover from a $10.6 billion loss in 2005 and stop

a slide in U.S. market share, has been criticized for relying heavily on

gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles. This year, it has also drawn sharp

criticism for its decision to kill its EV1 electric car program.

The EV1 was introduced at the 1997 Los Angeles Auto Show and leased to

selected customers. But GM pulled the plug on the project in 2002, citing

insufficient public support.

The automaker eventually collected and destroyed almost all of the 1,000

EV1 cars, prompting the making of a documentary titled "Who Killed the

Electric Car?"

The film was released this summer to wide acclaim from environmentalists

and others concerned about the country's dependence on oil.

In an interview with Motor Trend published in July, GM Chief Executive

Rick Wagoner said killing the $1 billion EV1 program was his worst

decision. He said it did not affect the automaker's profitability, but did

hurt its image.

The Detroit News said Wagoner will talk about GM's emphasis on advanced

technologies in a speech he plans to deliver at the Los Angeles Auto Show

later this month.

Other automakers are also researching plug-in technology, including Toyota

Motor Corp., the world's leading producer of hybrid vehicles.

Honda Motor Co. Ltd. has also called for exploring plug-ins and is

conducting advanced research on hydrogen.

Ford Motor Co. has a fleet of hybrid hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as part

of "real world testing of fuel cell technology."


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