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Robert Miller: Electric revolution gains momentum

The BMW ActiveE is an all-electric luxury car — a Beamer that hums.
Ken Ly, sales manager for Ridgefield BMW, said the car maker offered 700 ActiveEs to the American public in a pilot program this year.
“They sold out in a month,” Ly said.
Because of that acceptance, the Ridgefield BMW sales and service headquarters on Danbury Road now has two charging stations.
It the future, ActiveE owners who bring their vehicles in for repairs can get their cars’ batteries rejuiced while they wait.
“We sell hybrids and clean diesel cars,” Ly said. “But we have a new building here and we wanted to cover all our bets.”
At Greentree Toyota in Danbury, the emphasis is on the green — especially when gas prices are high.
“In the spring, when gas prices went up, we were selling every Prius we could get our hands on,” Harold Tananbaum, Greentree’s president, said about Toyota’s best-selling hybrid car.
The Prius, which mostly uses gas and electricity at the same time, can get 40 to 50 miles per gallon of gas.
But now Toyota is offering the Prius plug-in, a car that can run partially on electric power alone, providing the owner gives it a regular charge. It can get as much as 98 miles per gallon.
“It’s a great car,” Tananbaum said.
We are now on the verge of something really remarkable — having more electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars on the road in the U.S. than ever before.
Because they’ve been coming out for a few years, model by model, it’s easy to overlook there is a revolution in the works.
A new report by Environment America titled “Charging Forward” summarizes the changes.
It points out that with the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, the all-electric Nissan Leaf, the Ford Focus EV and the Toyota Pris Plug-in Hybrid, mass-produced electric and half-electric models are gaining popularity.
The Center for Automotive Research has estimated there could be nearly a half-million such vehicles on American roads by 2015.

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