"By the end of this year we will see the first few models on honest-to-goodness American driveways and roadways," says Bradley Berman, editor of Hybridcars.com. "This is the last year that it's a lot more talk than actual product in the marketplace."
By November, and perhaps as soon as September, the Chevy Volt – an electric passenger car that goes 40 miles on a charge before a range-extending gas engine kicks in – will appear in dealer showrooms. It may also cost less than the $40,000 many had expected, General Motors officials hinted at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month. But it will be available only in California and Michigan and maybe a few other locations.
The Nissan Leaf, an electric-drive all-battery-powered vehicle, will go up to 100 miles before needing overnight recharging. About 5,000 to 10,000 Leafs will be available by December, Nissan says.