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New electric cars promise sex appeal

Nissan showed off its concept electric vehicle, the BladeGlider, at the company’s headquarters in Yokohama, Japan on Oct. 25. / AFP/Getty Images

A model shows the plug connector of the new Audi A3 e-tron at the IAA international automobile show on Sept. 10 in Frankfurt, Germany. / Getty Images

Automakers focused on selling electric cars to the environmentally minded are now also setting their sights on new potential buyers: performance addicts.

They are rolling out new plug-in models that put the premium on breakneck acceleration and fun behind the wheel, not just relieving pain at the pump. At the same time, the new sleek models are certain to glamorize electric cars, which often come across as stodgy, utilitarian subcompacts meant for solo commuting or grocery runs.

At auto shows here and in Tokyo last month, Audi showed a new A3 that will come in a plug-in version; BMW and Porsche displayed production versions of their sexy electric sports cars; and Nissan offered a futuristic electric concept. All are following the path blazed by Tesla Motors, first with a plug-in sports car and lately with its performance electric sedan.
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