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Hybrids Hog the Limelight at Geneva Auto Show

The German car giants view hybrids as an expensive distraction from clean diesel.

Published: 03-Mar-2010

As if recession was but a distant memory, the Geneva Motor Show began yesterday with a flurry of glitzy launches overwhelmingly dominated by green technology. Everyone who is anyone in the world of cars is showing off their hybrids – be they electric motors boosting a petrol engine, petrol engines extending the range of electric batteries, or any manner of gradations in between.

It might seem as if mainstream electric motoring is just around the next bend, given the crop being showcased in Geneva – ranging from jaw-dropping super cars from Ferrari and Porsche to the workhorse Toyota Auris, with offers too from BMW and Audi. But, so far, hybrids occupy only the tiniest niche in the global car market, and for all the hype there is a long way to go.

At present there are very few electric hybrids for sale in the UK; the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight are the obvious examples. But the next year or two will see a whole range of new entrants, with the Toyota Auris hybrid this year, the Nissan Leaf and the plug-in Prius next, and the Vauxhall Ampera from early 2012.

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