Plug-in electric cars are the next frontier for green car buyers. Hybrids like the 2010 Toyota Prius and 2010 Honda Insight will duke it out this year, but you can't charge them up from wall current.
GM has been promoting its plans for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in car with an auxiliary engine, for more than two years. In January, Ford startled the Detroit Auto Show by saying it would offer a fully electric Focus in 2011.
Now we've had a chance to drive a development version of that car, which is engineered by supplier Magna, which will also build several thousand copies of the car to be sold at Ford dealers.
The bottom line: For a development 'mule', this thing feels like it could have rolled off a production line. We couldn't take the car out on freeways, but the car felt showroom-ready in low-speed testing around the roads and parking lots of DisneyWorld (top speed: 30 mph).
We were particularly impressed with the refinement and lack of noise. Most development vehicles...