Renault Fluence Z.E.
Renault Fluence Z.E.
You won't see it in U.S. showrooms anytime soon, but a lot of attention will be focused on Renault's Fluence, the first production vehicle to use battery-switching technology developed by Better Place, a Silicon Valley startup. The all-electric Fluence can be topped off at battery-charging stations around town, but when longer trips don't permit extended recharging times, it can be juiced up by swapping out its depleted battery pack for a charged one in a matter of minutes at a specially designed refueling station. The car is priced at about $35,000, and the batteries, leased separately, cost some $300/mo. After tests in taxi fleets in Tokyo and Israel, Renault is taking Fluence to Australia in 2012.

By Alex Taylor III, senior editor-at-large @FortuneMagazine - Last updated January 04 2012: 9:37 AM ET
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