Detroit banks on an electric future

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The Independent Online

Visitors to the Detroit motor show are being asked to rock down to "Electric Avenue", a special 37,000 sq ft display on the main show which starts today and highlights one of the themes of this year's event: the dawn of the electric age for motor vehicles.

Although it is three years since General Motors unveiled its Chevrolet Volt in Detroit, marking the first foray into all-electric vehicles by a big car-maker, others have followed suit and this year 20 cars are being given space on Electric Avenue. Nissan's rechargeable Leaf, due in showrooms late this year, will sell for about $30,000. The Chevy Volt costs about $40,000, although there are up to $7,500 in tax credits available to encourage adoption.

GM said that yesterday it was committed to using the Volt's lithium-ion battery technology in other cars, starting with the Cadillac Converj in 2013, in the hope of bringing economies of scale to manufacturing and driving down prices. BMW will also introduce an electric-powered 1-series BMW "test vehicle" at the show, and Volvo and Fiat also have electric models in train.