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Electric cars, no longer an oddity, make few inroads on market

There is no shortage of vehicles getting an electric boost at the Chicago Auto Show. There are hybrids that use gas engines to charge the…

CHICAGO — There is no shortage of vehicles getting an electric boost at the Chicago Auto Show. There are hybrids that use gas engines to charge the battery, hybrids that have sockets for plugging in and, of course, totally electric vehicles.

It’s enough to make a formerly unique concept seem almost ordinary.

Even several tried-and-true models on the showroom floor now offer various levels of electrification.

The 2013 Ford Fusion — hitting the market this fall — comes available as a hybrid, electric plug-in or regular old internal combustion.

Beginning this March, hybrid granddaddy Toyota Prius is offering a plug-in in some states rated at 95 mpg (equivalent) that, when charged, would allow the vehicle to run on battery power longer and at higher speeds.

But if there’s a full-blown revolution coming, it isn’t here yet. While the hybrid market is growing, in 2012 it comprises just 2.46 percent of the overall market. Electric-vehicle sales represent less than 1 percent, according to industry watcher Edmunds.com.

More seattletimes.nwsource.com

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