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I'm at the Detroit Auto Show today and there are hybrids and electric vehicles galore. I came to the show with an interest in super small cars and wanted to see and touch the cars I wrote about in my Will Super Small Cars Generate Super Big Sales analysis. I had the opportunity to see the Chevy Spark (I was sorry to see the clam shell doors were replaced by a traditional rear passenger door), the Fiat 500 and the Toyota FT-EVII concept that sits four, but not much more.

I also had the opportunity to test drive a super small eZone from CT&T. CT&T is a Korean OEM with a fleet of electric vehicles that they are introducing to the U.S. market. This was my first test drive of an electric vehicle other than a golf cart. When I sat in the car I was surprised that I didn't feel cramped, but there wasn't room for my big auto show bag so the CT&T co-pilot held it at his feet. I sat down, was told to go slow and then reached for the gear shifter, but all I found was a button with D and R. I pushed the D for drive, stepped on the petal and away I silently went. You couldn't really tell the acceleration of the car in the basement of the Expo hall, but I don't think you'd win any races. It could be an ideal car for the urban commuter that has the opportunity to plug in or the golf cart community member looking for something different. What do you think? Is there a market for these super small electric vehicles in the U.S.?

Posted by Margaret Zewatsky, Global Market Analyst, Polk (1.12.2010)

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