Americans Are Losing Interest in Efficient, Innovative Cars. The Auto Industry Knows Better. – Slate Magazine

Posted: Friday, April 01, 2016

It’s easy to forget that a decade ago, analysts regarded the hybrid offerings of Toyota and Honda with the same skepticism with which they now regard fuel-cell vehicles: too expensive, too weird, too niche. And yet hybridization and electrification are now definite things. Everywhere you look at the auto show, there are cars connected to faux charging stations, at every price point and from every country: the Porsche Panamera S-E Hybrid, a BMW plug-in SUV, Smart coupes, pedestrian Honda and Nissan sedans, and a half-dozen varieties of Prius. Hybrids and plug-in hybrids are not standard by any means. But it is becoming standard for companies to offer hybrids, more powerful batteries, and cars that run in part or entirely on electricity. Chevrolet is still pushing the Volt, which can go about 30 miles on its electric battery before switching over to gas. But it gave a prominent place to an ochre-colored Bolt—the zippy new compact that will be able to go 200 miles on a single charge.

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