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By Rachel Haig | 02-09-2010 01:45 PM

Roadblocks for the Electric Car

Ahead of Chicago's Auto Show, analyst David Whiston comments on electric car adoption and whether rivals can exploit Toyota's missteps.

Rachel Haig: I'm Rachel Haig for Morningstar.com. We're right before the Chicago Auto Show and I'm here with Morningstar's auto industry analyst Dave Whiston.

Thanks for joining me, Dave.

David Whiston: Thanks, Rachel.

Haig: A big thing that's been in focus lately is alternative energy. What are you seeing in that area?

Whiston: Just like at last year's shows, we're seeing the ongoing momentum of electric vehicle technology, in particular. In terms of mass market models, the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf will be out in late 2010.

The Volt was on display at last year's show. They'll probably have it again because it's going to be a big halo car for GM. And last year they did display the Cadillac Converge concept, which is basically taking the Volt to the Cadillac luxury platform. Since last year's show they've announced that GM will actually make that car, so we'll see more of that.

But we're also seeing just a huge influx of other electric vehicle OEMs [original equipment manufacturers]. Some on the very high end, luxury sports car end, like Tesla Motors and Fisker. But you're also seeing things like Think from Norway, or I believe it's the Tango from the Pacific Northwest.

And then there are tons of these electrical vehicles that are just very impractical-looking. Some of them have been coming out of Japan actually. They've got eight wheels and things like that. It's exciting from a technological point of view, but from a practical point of view it's not a very attractive move.

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