: NPR's Sonari Glinton reports on how long it will take for all this electricity to come to you.
SONARI GLINTON: Here it is, the big news out of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit:
U: And the 2011 North American Car of the Year is the Chevrolet Volt.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)
GLINTON: The Chevy Volt, the electric car with a back-up gas engine, is clearly the star of the Detroit Auto Show. But it's certainly not the only electric car or hybrid in the game.
: Tesla, Nissan Leaf, Smart E, Mini E, Mercedes SLS E.
GLINTON: That's Jessica Caldwell. She's an analyst with Edmunds.com; it's an automotive website. She could keep listing the cars for a while. But here's the question: Are there enough electric cars in production so that if you wanted a to buy one, you could get one right now?
: You can't really get one. If you get one, it's going to be secondhand because there's such a high demand for those vehicles right now.
GLINTON: Tony DiSalle is head of marketing for the Chevy Volt.
: Today, a lot of our customers are early-tech adopters - typically, the first on the block to have an iPhone or an iPad.
GLINTON: Or an electric car.
: That's going to migrate through time. And so the most important thing is for consumers - mass-market consumers - to understand the benefits of the Volt.
GLINTON: So in the coming years, what exactly is a mass market?
: We've announced 10,000 units for sale during the 2011 calendar year.
GLINTON: And next year?
: We'll sell 45,000 units - or build 45,000 units for sale here in the United States.
GLINTON: To give you an idea of how many cars that is, Porsche sold 25,000 cars in the U.S. These are not tremendous numbers.
: Look, the electrification of America's fleet is not going to occur overnight.
GLINTON: That is Bob Lutz. He just retired as vice chairman of General Motors. Lutz takes credit, often, for the Chevy Volt. He says electrification will be a gradual process.
: And if you take yourself out to the year 2025, and you look at what percentage of the total vehicle market is going to be electric, it'll probably be 10 to 15 percent. But will it suddenly flip and like, within two years you go into a showroom and half the cars are electric? The answer is no. That's going to take a long time.
GLINTON: Sonari Glinton, NPR News, Detroit.
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