Five years from now, the 2003 North American International Auto Show may well be remembered as the turning point for hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles (HEVs). HEVs still are considered in many engineering circles to be overly complicated contraptions that represent the worst of both worlds for internal combustion and electric propulsion systems. Nevertheless, the world’s three largest auto makers showed last January they are committed to pushing the technology into mainstream, high-volume ...

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