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Detroit auto show has SUVs, horsepower, but electric cars are few

Updated : January 15, 2019 11:10 AM IST

Automakers have promised to start selling hordes of electric cars in the next few years, but only two will be unveiled at the big Detroit auto show that kicks off this week — and those aren't even ready for production.

Meanwhile, there will be plenty of SUVs and high-horsepower sports cars on display as cheap gasoline helps SUV and truck sales continue their dramatic climb.

So how credible is the industry's pledge to move toward fuel-efficient vehicles when it keeps cranking out more lucrative trucks and sport utilities?

Some environmental groups contend that companies aren't really interested in efficiency because they're making tons of money from the sales of less-efficient SUVs and pickup trucks. These groups also say that without government fuel economy requirements, automakers won't make progress toward electric vehicles that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Auto executives, however, say they're already moving to more fuel-efficient trucks and SUVs, some now coming with gas-electric hybrid power systems. Soon there will be many electric SUVs, they say.

In this Wednesday, January 9, 2019 photo, Ford Motor Co., President, Global Markets Jim Farley, left, and President and CEO Jim Hackett stand next to the redesigned 2020 Ford Explorer during its unveiling, in Detroit. SUVs and a big pickup truck will get top billing at Detroit's auto show this year, but there are some surprise sports cars and electric vehicles on the agenda. The most popular vehicle of the bunch is the Ford Explorer, revealed ahead of the show Wednesday night at Ford Field, the home of the National Football League's Detroit Lions. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
In this Wednesday, January 9, 2019 photo, Ford Motor Co., President, Global Markets Jim Farley, left, and President and CEO Jim Hackett stand next to the redesigned 2020 Ford Explorer during its unveiling, in Detroit. SUVs and a big pickup truck will get top billing at Detroit's auto show this year, but there are some surprise sports cars and electric vehicles on the agenda. The most popular vehicle of the bunch is the Ford Explorer, revealed ahead of the show Wednesday night at Ford Field, the home of the National Football League's Detroit Lions. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
In this photo provided by Cadillac is the first-ever 2020 Cadillac XT6. Cadillac will show off its XT6, a smaller-than-a-truck, three-row family hauler at an event Sunday night, January 13, 2019. (Robert Kerian/Cadillac via AP)
In this photo provided by Cadillac is the first-ever 2020 Cadillac XT6. Cadillac will show off its XT6, a smaller-than-a-truck, three-row family hauler at an event Sunday night, January 13, 2019. (Robert Kerian/Cadillac via AP)
The three-row Cadillac XT6 crossover SUV is unveiled during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Sunday, January 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The three-row Cadillac XT6 crossover SUV is unveiled during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Sunday, January 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The Ram 2019 3500 HD debuts during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The Ram 2019 3500 HD debuts during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The Ram 2500 Power Wagon is debuts during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The Ram 2500 Power Wagon is debuts during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Ford Motor Company's Executive Vice President and president, Global Markets, Jim Farley introduces the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Ford Motor Company's Executive Vice President and president, Global Markets, Jim Farley introduces the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford stands next to the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford stands next to the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO, Volkswagen AG, speaks during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO, Volkswagen AG, speaks during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The 2020 Volkswagen Passat debuts during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The 2020 Volkswagen Passat debuts during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The Nissan IMs Concept debuts during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The Nissan IMs Concept debuts during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The 2020 Toyota Supra is displayed on Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)
The 2020 Toyota Supra is displayed on Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)
The 2020 Toyota Supra is displayed on Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)
The 2020 Toyota Supra is displayed on Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)
President of Toyota Motor Corporation Akio Toyoda stands with the 2020 Toyota Supra on Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)
President of Toyota Motor Corporation Akio Toyoda stands with the 2020 Toyota Supra on Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)
The 2020 Toyota Supra is displayed on Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)
The 2020 Toyota Supra is displayed on Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News via AP)
Yoshio Hirakawa, president of Subaru Tecnica International, left, and Tom Doll, president and CEO of Subaru America show introduce the Subaru STI S Model, Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Yoshio Hirakawa, president of Subaru Tecnica International, left, and Tom Doll, president and CEO of Subaru America show introduce the Subaru STI S Model, Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
The Subaru STI S Model is unveiled, Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
The Subaru STI S Model is unveiled, Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
The 2020 Kia Telluride is displayed Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)
The 2020 Kia Telluride is displayed Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)
The 2020 Kia Telluride is displayed Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)
The 2020 Kia Telluride is displayed Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)
The GAC Entranze concept electric vehicle is unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, Monday, January 14, 2019, in Detroit, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
The GAC Entranze concept electric vehicle is unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, Monday, January 14, 2019, in Detroit, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
The GAC Entranze concept electric vehicle is unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, Monday, January 14, 2019, in Detroit, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
The GAC Entranze concept electric vehicle is unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, Monday, January 14, 2019, in Detroit, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
The Infiniti QX Inspiration concept vehicle is presented at the North American International Auto Show, Monday, January 14, 2019, in Detroit, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
The Infiniti QX Inspiration concept vehicle is presented at the North American International Auto Show, Monday, January 14, 2019, in Detroit, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
The Infiniti QX Inspiration concept vehicle is presented at the North American International Auto Show, Monday, January 14, 2019, in Detroit, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
The Infiniti QX Inspiration concept vehicle is presented at the North American International Auto Show, Monday, January 14, 2019, in Detroit, Mich. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
The Lexus LC Convertible concept debuts during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The Lexus LC Convertible concept debuts during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Tadao Mori, Chief Engineer, Lexus LC and RC F, from left, Koji Sato, Executive Vice President, Lexus International and David Christ, Group Vice President and General Manager, Lexus Division pose with the Lexus LC Convertible concept debuts during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Tadao Mori, Chief Engineer, Lexus LC and RC F, from left, Koji Sato, Executive Vice President, Lexus International and David Christ, Group Vice President and General Manager, Lexus Division pose with the Lexus LC Convertible concept debuts during media previews for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Monday, January 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The Alpha Romero Giulia is displayed, Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
The Alpha Romero Giulia is displayed, Monday, January 14, 2019, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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