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A look at alternative vehicles at the North American International Auto Show

Automotive Rhythms

The North American International Auto Show is in full swing in Detroit.

Writer Paul Eisenstein, publisher of TheDetroitBureau.com, serves up an in-depth look at the state of alternative fuel vehicles for the January issue of Hour Detroit Magazine.

Eisenstein has covered all the news conferences and "big vehicle reveals" at the NAIAS. Amidst the luxury cars and the muscle cars like that new 650-horsepower Corvette automakers are still thinking "green" with alternative fuel options.

The newly revealed electric 2016 Chevy Volt bodes well for Detroit and General Motors. Eisenstein says many of the production components will be made in Michigan, with 70% of the vehicle produced in the state.

The original Volt was the first mass marketed plug-in hybrid, which combines a regular gasoline engine and a battery motor. It's designed to drive under battery power, but when the charge runs down the gas engine will continue to power the vehicle. Eisenstein says this style of car may be the future.

The new model will be getting a smaller, lighter battery pack that will allow the car to travel up to 50 miles on one charge before the gas engine kicks in. Eisenstein says GM is estimating that Volt users will be able to go 1,500 miles between filling up on gas.

But, electric isn't the only option for alternative fuel. Eisenstein says vast improvements in diesel vehicles with higher fuel efficiency have become more popular in Europe. And hydrogen-powered vehicles are also starting to gain traction, but with so few filling stations their ability to be sold nationwide may still be a long way off. 

Listen to the interview above.

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