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Is the clean car coming?

Despite recent setbacks, the battle to break the monopoly of the internal combustion engine is still on. Battery driven cars are out of favour but fuel cell cars and hybrids - combining normal engines with batteries - will be widely used in ten years

By Philip Ball   February 2003

It’s not often that you find environmentalists protesting about a company’s refusal to manufacture a car. But the placards outside the Ford offices in San Francisco last October denounced the company’s decision to ditch the Th!nk City model. Following its unveiling in Europe in 2000, it was introduced to the US in a flurry of Los Angeles glitz in January 2002-only to be discontinued months later.

The Th!nk City runs for only 53 miles at a stretch, with a top speed of around 56 mph. But the car is all-electric: it needs no petrol and produces no pollution. It was…

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