The trends from automakers at the Detroit Auto show, happening this week, seem to suggest so. Due to the current economic climate, the worsening recession, and increasing concerns around climate change and global oil reserve depletion, car manufacturers are eager to highlight new versions of smaller, less expensive cars, many of which get up to 40 miles per gallon on highways. Hybrids and electric cars are also taking center stage, with many auto manufacturers debuting electric models. Electric cars still seem to be firmly rooted in the future realm in the majority of the United States, with lack of ubiquitous charging stations and the current high cost of electric cars, but hopefully this is changing. A $100 million federal grant to the Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation is a great start, as are the 2500 electric car charging stations in 5 chosen cities (one of which is Seattle - yay! For more on Seattle's Electric Vehicle initiative, see the following November 1, 2009 story in the Seattle PI).
Denver Post, that fewer than 10 tax filers were expected to take advantage of the credit, sealing the Tesla Roadster's status as pure luxury.
Nonetheless, more practical cars like the Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid electric car that debuted in November, the Nissan LEAF, an all-electric, zero-emission vehicle currently in Seattle as one of the chosen test markets, and electric cars that are already popular in Europe are making their way to the US; e.g., Daimler's smart ev car (with a range of 70 miles on a charge, 70 mph top speed), and Th!nk city (which can drive 110 miles on a single charge and tops out at 65 mph) are paving the way for more ubiquitous EVs on the road.
To have a look at the current crop of eco-vehicles - the sexy (the Roadster), the rugged (the Jeep - EV?), the fun (MINI EV - I can't wait!), and the Tron-mobile (you'll see...) and vote on your favorites, head on over to Planet Green!