Electric cars take center stage at Auto Show

January 28, 2011 4:51:50 PM PST
As soon as Action News arrived at the Convention Center ahead of the 2011 Philadelphia Auto Show, General Motors offered us a chance to test drive their new, plug-in hybrid electric/gas vehicle.

The Chevy Volt is already getting a big buzz, and is a featured product at this year's Philadelphia International Auto Show.

It was smooth and quiet without the rumbling you normally get with a combustion engine.

You could call the Volt the American auto industry's "great green hope."

"The rabid enthusiasm around the car hasn't diminished. It continues to build," said Kevin Kelly of General Motors.

Green is the theme for 2011. A number of auto companies are rolling out more energy-efficient vehicles. In fact, the industry as a whole is hoping the buying public will do a lot of buying at dealerships this year.

"It's never been more intense because there is an increase in sales and people are really looking," said Kevin Mazucola of the Auto Dealers Association of Philadelphia.

One of the Volt's main competitors is the Nissan Leaf. It's a bit different in that there is no gas tank - just 100% electricity.

Because of that, a Leaf owner relies on the availability of charging stations. Nissan has the attitude of "build the Leaf, and they will come."

"Out on the West Coast there is infrastructure going up. You'll start to see some on the East Coast as well," said Steve Oldham of Nissan.

The Philadelphia Auto Show opens to the public at 9:00 a.m. Saturday.