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PHOTO CAPTION: Nissan Nuvu electric car debuted at 2008 Paris Auto Show.

Electric Cars Edging Ever Closer

Almost every auto maker is working on developing an electric car, but there are still issues to be sorted out before they become viable for everyday use.

Published: 15-Nov-2008

Some 100 years ago, when the auto industry was in its infancy, Thomas Edison promised his friend Henry Ford a battery for his electric car. Mr. Ford died waiting. And the gasoline internal combustion engine took hold and reigns supreme today.

Yet many are still making Edison-like promises about electric cars. In July, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the Group of Eight summit in Japan that electric cars would be commonplace by 2020. He repeated the claim weeks ago at the London Motor Show.

And judging by the constant stream of announcements about this or that new electric car, some think Brown is right.

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Ray Lane, managing partner of venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins, Caufield and Byers, which has invested in Think, believes Think could eventually sell as many as 30,000 to 50,000 City cars a year.

The production electric vehicle to be introduced in 2010 will have a unique bodystyle and is not based on any existing Nissan model, unlike the technology 'mule' pictured above.

The 100-mile range electric car has been operating with Japanese power companies for the last two years.

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