Today in Cleantech

Green car spotters of the world, unite. The North American International Auto Show has plenty of actual and would-be models to salivate over in Detroit this week. Toyota is showing off three new Prius models to arrive in 2012 — the smaller Prius C, the family-sized Prius V and the first plug-in Prius, which will have a much shorter all-electric range in exchange for much shorter charging time. In the meantime, Ford announced plans to make the world’s first mass-production plug-in hybrid minivan, the C-Max, for 2012 launch, and said that electric drive vehicles could account for up to one-quarter of global sales by 2015. On the theme of family-sized plug-ins, Johnson Controls-Saft showed off a new battery pack in a so-called ie:3 electric concept vehicle — actually a Kia Soul — that combined 100 miles of all-electric range with lots of passenger and cargo space. On the price competition front, Chinese-based, Warren Buffet-backed automaker BYD unveiled a 2012 U.S. launch date for its low-price electric and hybrid car offerings. And on the definite-maybe front, Li-Ion Motors is promising a mid-2011 launch for its long-delayed Inizio electric sports car and has taken five orders for its Automotive X-Prize-winning Wave EV.

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