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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

GM to offer all-electric city car in U.S.

General Motors Co. is expected to announce Wednesday it will sell an all-electric car in the United States.

The car will be a small, battery-powered vehicle designed for urban markets, a source familiar with the plans said.

It's unclear when it will go on sale at U.S. dealers, or under which of GM's brand it will be sold.

GM spokesman Mike Albano declined comment. On Wednesday, the company is holding a media briefing for journalists at its headquarters in Detroit in honor of Chevrolet's centennial anniversary on Nov. 3.

"We have some news announcements (Wednesday) and I'm not going to say what they are," Albano said.

GM CEO Dan Akerson said at the Detroit auto show in January the auto company was developing an all-electric vehicle for the U.S. market to complement the extended-range Chevrolet Volt that went on sale in December.

This electric car would fill a niche separate from the Volt, which is battery powered but comes with a back-up gas engine, Akerson said at the time. It would be aimed primarily at drivers in big cities, he said.

Akerson also said GM plans to add two more Volt-style, extended-range vehicles to its lineup in the 2012-2013 time frame: a hatchback and a minivan called the Volt MPV5, shown last year at the Beijing Auto Show.

The Detroit-based automaker will ratchet up production of the Volt next year at its Detroit-Hamtramck plant. This year, it plans to build 16,000 Volts, including several thousand destined for export. Next year, GM will increase that number to 60,000 Volts.

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