Friday, July 28, 2006

Electrifying car news

Could it be that the reason American-made electric-powered autos haven't caught on with buyers is because of where they're manufactured?

Detroit, the U.S. auto capital, has a dismal record in deciding which cars to design and sell and flopped with the electric car.

So, take notice—electric car manufacturing is the new rage in Silicon Valley, the capital of America's high-tech electric revolution and the home of genius mega-millionaires whose ideas have changed U.S. culture.

The most eye-popping rollout is the Tesla, a high-performance electric car with a $100,000 sticker that can zoom from zero to 60 mph in four seconds and has a range of 250 miles on a single electric charge. Now that's some ingenuity.

Wrightspeed is another $100,000 Silicon Valley eye-catcher.

But the average-income buyer isn't left out. At least four low-priced electric cars with carrying speeds and ranges and prices starting at $5,000 are planned.

Investors are hoping sales of the mint-priced high performance electric cars to the well-to-do will help finance an industry of lower-priced electric models.

Just as Detroit miscalculated the appeal of Japan's smaller, fuel-efficient cars, U.S. automakers now teetering on the edge of bankruptcy may have gone wrong on their long-range guesses about electric power.

Helping spur interest in electric cars is the certain knowledge that high gasoline prices, and even fuel shortages, are a thing of the future.

This new Silicon Valley industry is sure to be just another shocker of bad news for Detroit—and good news for drivers.

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