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8/6/2008
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Inside Two Electric Cars

GM's Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid concept car. Tesla Motors' Roadster is an all-electric vehicle in production. We peek under the hoods of both.

The mood in Detroit has got to be grim and tense. With truck and SUV sales plunging, and financial losses mounting, GM needs to get its plug-in hybrid concept car, the Volt, to market quickly.




Production of GM's Volt hinges on sourcing battery technology.
(click for image gallery)

That day, however is at least two years off, and one cause for delay is the difficulty GM is having in sourcing a battery vendor.

"Right now GM is evaluating products from a company called A123, working with Continental, and a company called CPI working with LG Chem." says GM on its Volt FAQ page. Maybe it should be in battery talks with Tesla Motors.

On the other side of the Rockies, Tesla has a different tale to tell. The young company uses a proprietary Li-ion battery pack. Its first car, the $109,000 Roadster, started shipping in July, and the company just opened its second dealer showroom.

The two automakers could not be more different, yet they share a common goal: to sell cars -- efficient, clean-running ones.

Will GM find the right battery in time? Can Tesla sufficiently bring down the price of its next vehicle -- a sedan codenamed White Star due in 2010?

We'll see. For now, take a closer look at the Volt and the Roadster in this image gallery.

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