Organizers announced Thursday that the 2010 North American International Auto Show will include a new 37,000-square-foot exhibit devoted exclusively to electric vehicles.

The exhibit, called Electric Avenue, will be on the main floor of Detroit's Cobo Center and will include twenty zero-emissions vehicles from both established automakers and startup companies.

In a written statement Doug Fox, Chairman of the annual auto show, said that the new exhibit will illustrate  "the long-term viability of the auto industry using a subject that is top of mind globally these days,.

The auto show, scheduled for January 11-24, also will reprise last year's EcoXperience exhibit, which allowed attendees to drive a variety of electric vehicles around a landscaped quarter-mile track in Cobo's basement.

Electric Avenue's sponsor is Dow Chemical Co., which is developing batteries for electric vehicles in a joint venture with South Korean battery-maker Kokam Engineering.  Construction has already begun on an 800,000-square-foot, $665 million, development and manufacturing plant near Dow's headquarters in Midland, Michigan.