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Europeans get into the hybrid act

Lexus, Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche all show off hybrid cars at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show.

BMW Vision EfficientDynamics
BMW's Vision EfficientDynamics concept uses a gas engine and three electric motors. CNET


Japanese automakers pioneered hybrid cars, but German companies have been slow to join in. At the Frankfurt auto show, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche showed off their latest efforts, a mix of research and production vehicles. Most of these cars don't stint on the power, merely using hybrid systems to boost efficiency without shooting for stellar fuel economy.

Volkswagen also comes in with a hybrid concept in its quest to build a car that will only burn one liter of fuel over 100 kilometers. And Lexus shows off a luxury compact concept with a full hybrid power train as a way of testing the waters in the European market.