While General Motors is focusing its U.S. electric-drive efforts solely on the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, a range-extended electric car, elsewhere in the world it's experimenting with full battery electric vehicles.

Now the company has said it will unveil a Chinese-built electric subcompact in the Indian market next year.

Karl Slym, president and managing director of GM India, said it will showcase a battery electric car next year.

It is almost certain to be a Chevrolet, a brand that has now been on sale for seven years in the country, and one which will sell three different low-priced vehicles to Indian buyers that were originally developed by GM-Shanghai Auto, the company's joint venture in China.

The car itself will be an electric conversion of the Chevrolet New Sail, one of three all-electric vehicles GM is developing for test in different markets outside North America.

Another of those EVs is the Chevrolet Cruze Electric, prototypes of which will be built and tested by GM-Daewoo in South Korea.

A recent J.D. Power Associates report, which called market prospects for electric cars "overhyped," concluded that Asia and Europe would be the most fertile ground for pure electric cars.

The U.S., it said, would be likely to use more plug-in hybrids (and range-extended electric cars) due to its existing familiarity with hybrids like the Toyota Prius, and also the longer distances covered by U.S. drivers.

Hybrids give U.S. drivers the flexibility to cover distances of more than 100 miles, the stated range for the 2011 Nissan Leaf. And gasoline is relatively cheap in the U.S.

Drivers in Asia and Europe, however, cover lower distances per day, and more people in those regions live in relatively crowded cities, versus the U.S. paradigm of sprawling suburbs.

Several cities in Europe and perhaps Asia are also expected to start restricting entry to the densest core areas to zero-emissions vehicles.

All those factors are expected to make battery electric vehicles more practical outside the U.S. They'll be sold here too, but in lower percentages than plug-in hybrids, says the Power study.

On the green vehicle front, GM India manufactures not only gasoline and diesel engines, but engines that run on compressed natural gas (CNG), which is increasingly popular for passenger cars in that country.

[Financial Chronicle via IndianAutosBlog; Detroit News]