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Electric cars rolling off assembly line soon
The all-electric car -- which had a brief heyday less than a decade ago before the car companies killed it -- is about to make a comeback.

Charged up with lighter, more efficient batteries and competitively priced with gasoline-driven vehicles, the new offers will be marketed and sold primarily as second cars.

These silent electric autos will be plugged into home outlets and will be able to travel 100 miles or more without stopping for a charge.

Nissan said recently it has developed a mass-market electric car, due out by the end of next year, that will seat five and can have its battery charged to 80 percent of capacity in 26 minutes. It will have all the amenities buyers want, Nissan says, such as navigation, super stereo and heated seats, and will cost between $20,000 and $30,000.

The company is not alone. Ford, Mitsubishi, Chrysler and Subaru, among others, are planning to introduce electric vehicles over the next year, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association, a trade group.

"The electric car is clearly on its way back," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the magazine Green Car Journal, which covers the alternative-energy-auto industry. "Every automaker and battery company has been making incremental breakthroughs" in technology.

Several major automakers produced electric models at the beginning of this decade to satisfy a California law mandating that a small percentage of new cars sold in the state be pollution-free. Perhaps the best-known was General Motors' EV1, which was sleek and fast and attracted a cult-like base of fans. Detroit News

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