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GM, Utilities Partner to Speed Up Commercialization of Plug-Ins

gm-volt.jpgGeneral Motors Corp. and the Electric Power Research Institute, a consortium of over 30 electric utilities, recently announced a partnership to speed the commercialization of plug-in vehicles, the Detroit News reports.

The partnership will form six groups to tackle issues such as ensuring infrastructure is ready for vehicle charging, raising public awareness of electric vehicles and working with the government to ease the shift from fuel-powered cars to electric cars.

GM is planning to market two electric vehicles by late 2010, one with a 40-mile electric range and an SUV hybrid with about 10-mile electric range. The advantage of these electric-powered vehicles is costs, which GM estimates to be 1 cent per mile in off-peak periods and 2 cents at peak periods, compared with bout 14 cents per mile at $4 for a gallon of fuel.

Ford Motor Co. also launched an electric hybrid partnership with Johnson Controls to test a fleet of 20 plug-in hybrids due out on the roads by end of 2008.

While fuel alternative vehicles may seem attractive with today’s fuel prices, some consumers still cite battery concerns as a leading reason for not considering battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, according to a recent survey conducted by market research firm Synovate.

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