10 cool electric cars of the future
Why it's green: Plug-in hybrid.
Why it's cool: Remote-control, OnStar Mobile Application.
Chevrolet added an innovative remote-control feature to the Chevy Volt at the Detroit show, even though the Volt isn't even on sale yet. The new feature is a smart-phone application that can be used to order the car to recharge itself, to monitor how fully it's charged or to start the heating or air-conditioning. Using the remote control, the driver can preschedule recharging during "off-peak" hours, when electricity is cheaper. A plug-in hybrid can be recharged with ordinary current, or from the onboard gasoline engine. It's a race between the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf to see which can be the first to the market. Today's hybrids, like the Toyota Prius, get recharged exclusively from the gasoline engine.