Long Shots - Future Cars That Might Not Make it to Production

2011 Chevrolet Volt
GM asserts that the Volt is still on schedule. Depressed oil prices and bleak financial outlook be damned, your vehicle of the future will be in Chevy dealerships in November 2010. GM is also considering other extended-range electric vehicles and is beginning to develop its next-generation Voltec powertrain. Of course, the Volt isn't waiting alone - the Opel Ampera and the Cadillac Converj also require the same battery technology.

Toyota Prius Plug-in
Toyota is playing it safe with the plug-in Prius. It will build 150 units for fleet testing later this year but won't commit to a production model. The issue, Toyota says, is the unproven reliability of lithium-ion batteries. It won't risk the Prius's strong brand equity on pricey new battery technology that may fail.Others, chief among them GM's Bob Lutz, say that Toyota is merely trying to protect its investment in nickel-metal-hydride batteries, which it produces in-house for itself and other carmakers. We won't know who was right until after 2010, when the Chevrolet Volt is set to launch.

2011 Tesla Model S
Tesla plans to drive the electric vehicle from sideshow to main stage with a mass-produced four-door sedan. Due in late 2011 and priced at $49,900 (after a $7500 federal tax credit), the base model will carry five adults and two children 160 miles between charges. The 5500-cell battery pack reportedly will propel the historic EV from 0 to 60 mph in less than six seconds and achieve a top speed of 130 mph. The early buzz? Shocking.

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