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USA: More drivers turning to electric cars, expert tells Camarillo crowd

Tony Biasotti/Special to The Star Jason Enge, a fleet supervisor with the Team Nissan dealership in Oxnard, explains the features of a Nissan Leaf, an all-electric car, on Sunday in Camarillo.

Plug-in electric cars are still rare enough to turn heads, but they’re being adopted at a faster rate than gas-electric hybrids were when they were new, an expert in the field told a group of electric enthusiasts in Camarillo.

When the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight, the first mass-market hybrids, were released in the United States in 2000, about 9,000 were sold the first year, said Michael Chiacos, a transportation specialist with the Community Environmental Council, a Santa Barbara-based nonprofit group.

Last year, the first full year plug-ins were widely available, about 17,000 were sold, led by the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt. Toyota will soon join the market with a plug-in Prius hybrid.



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