The International Auto Show kicks off

January 12, 2009 3:17:04 AM PST
The Big Three roll out new fuel-efficient models

General Motors is showing off plans to take its electric cars upscale.

The automaker unveiled the Cadillac Converj at this weekend's North American International Auto Show.

The concept car is based on the same plug-in technology as the Chevrolet Volt.

It can go 40 miles on electric power alone, with a small gasoline engine to extend the range.

GM also announced plans to build a Chevrolet Spark subcompact that will get 40 miles per gallon.

It's set to go on sale in Europe next year and in the U.S. in 2011.

The Spark was called the Beat when GM unveiled it as a concept car in 2007.

The automaker says the Chevrolet Orlando seven-passenger crossover vehicle will go on sale in North America in 2011.

That's about the time that Ford Motor says it plans to offer a fully electric car that can get up to 100 miles on a single charge.

About a year later, Ford says it also plans to offer a gas-electric hybrid vehicle that can be recharged from a standard wall outlet.