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Two Big Automakers Press the Case for Electric Cars

(New York Times)

The greenest cars on the market — electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids — have attracted very few buyers so far.

But instead of scaling back, major automakers are eager to bring more battery-powered models to their showrooms.

Two of the biggest producers, General Motors and Nissan, served notice at the annual Detroit auto show that they are in the electric-car business for the long haul.

G.M., the biggest American automaker, on Tuesday said it would begin production later this year of the Cadillac ELR, a luxury version of the Chevrolet Volt, the company’s current extended-range plug-in hybrid sedan.

Nissan, the Japanese automaker, is taking a different approach to lift sales of its all-electric Leaf sedan. Rather than turn more upscale, it will offer a new base-model Leaf that is $6,000, or 18 percent, cheaper than the current car.

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