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See Inside November 2009

The Future of Cars

Industry leaders look way down the road



ALINA NOVOPASHINA Corbis

For a glimpse into what automobiles will be like 20 years from now, contributing editor Stuart F. Brown conducted a group interview with executives at General Motors, Tesla Motors and Toyota and also spoke separately with a program manager at the Electric Power Research Institute. The interviewees, whose comments have been edited for length, foresee increased communication among cars and a combination of vehicle types. Some, like Tesla’s current sports cars, will draw their energy from a battery pack. Others, in common with today’s Toyota’s Prius and the 2010 Chevy Volt, will be hybrid designs, relying on both electric motors and small internal-combustion engines. Many forthcoming hybrids will charge batteries by plugging into the electric grid, and hydrogen fuel cells might be a reality. But that is not all that the participants see. Read on. 

—The Editors

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