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PHOTO CAPTION: Audi A3 e-tron electric hybrid.

How the Germans Are Making Electric Cars Sexy

German carmakers are introducing a range of high performance, electric-drive cars to raise the profile of the technology.

Published: 20-Sep-2013

The Germans have been waiting and planning for just the right moment to explode into the gasoline-electric hybrid market. The time is now and they mean business. That was the overwhelming takeaway from the biennial Frankfurt Motor Show.

Hybrids, hybrids, hybrids everywhere. Full-on electric cars, too. But rather than roll out strictly homely or purely practical transportation appliances, the German car companies are sexing up electrified vehicles. Leading car companies such as the Volkswagen Group – including its Audi, Porsche and VW brands – along with BMW and Mercedes-Benz are plugging into the plug-in world of personal transportation with a top-to-bottom approach.

Top-to-bottom? At the top are the halo cars, monstrously powerful performance machines that are unattainable for most people. They cast the shadow of desirability over plug-in cars, giving them credibility with opinion-makers and early adopters – and those qualities are expected to drive sales of all electrified vehicles in precisely the same way the Audi R8 helped Audi define itself as a break-out premium brand.

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