Car Companies Take One More Step Forward On The Road Electric Vehicles

LAS VEGAS— With the decline in the availability of oil, electric and hybrid cars will become more important. Although sales of electric and hybrid vehicles have struggled, automakers are charging ahead to bring new battery-powered vehicles to market.

Several car companies have focused on electric vehicles at the International CES consumer trade show here, including General Motors, which on Wednesday introduced the production version of its Chevrolet Bolt.

G.M.’s chief executive, Mary T. Barra, said the Bolt was a big step forward in the electrification of vehicles because of its price and ability to travel 200 miles on a fully charged battery.

“This is truly the first EV that cracks the code because of long range at an affordable price,” Ms. Barra said in a keynote speech at the show.

The Bolt, which will go on sale this year, will carry a sticker price of $30,000, including government incentives that total about $7,500.

But even with its extended range and mass-market price, the Bolt may still face a difficult battle to lure consumers who are taking advantage of $2-a-gallon gasoline to buy larger vehicles.

While sales of pickups and sport utility vehicles soared in 2015, all-electric models and gas-electric hybrids languished in showrooms.

For example, sales in the United States of the all-electric Nissan Leaf fell 43 percent in 2015 compared with 2014, and the leading hybrid model, the Toyota Prius, dropped about 11 percent.

Over all, electric and hybrid vehicles accounted for about 2 percent of the American market. Still, luxury automakers like BMW introduced a new electric car last year, and Tesla is expanding its lineup to include an all-electric S.U.V., the Model X.

G.M. has had mixed success with its Volt plug-in hybrid, which marries battery power with a small gasoline engine that significantly extends its driving range.

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