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Tokyo Motor Show rolls out hot wheels

By Yoko Wakatsuki, CNN
  • Car makers introduce their latest line up of eco-friendly cars
  • Electric vehicles believed to be next wave of automobile
  • Recession impact: Half number of participants compared to 2007
  • Show is one of five world biggest motor shows

Tokyo, Japan (CNN) -- Take a glimpse of the near future. Electric vehicles and other types of eco-friendly cars are taking center stage at the 41st Tokyo Motor Show, which runs through November 4.

Following the commercial success of Toyota's hybrid car Prius, Japanese car makers introduced their latest line up of eco-friendly cars. Electric vehicles are believed to be the next wave of automobile powered by alternative energy sources.

The governments of many developed economies have introduced scrap incentives for eco-friendly car purchases to kick-start moribund economies, accelerating the sales of alternative energy cars such as Prius.

The biannual automobile showcase took a hit from the global recession, counting only 109 auto and auto parts makers' participation, less than half of that in the last show in 2007.

The Tokyo Motor show is one of the world's five biggest motor shows, but only three non-Japanese car makers -- Lotus and Caterham of the U.K. and Alpina of Germany -- participated this year, compared with 26 firms in 2007. Car makers are shifting focus to emerging markets, such as those of China and India.

The race for zero emission has begun.
--Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Nissan

Carlos Ghosn, president and chief executive officer of Nissan, introduced the company's first electric vehicle, ''Leaf,'' for the mass market. It will be sold starting in late 2010 in Japan, U.S. and Europe.

'The race for zero emission has begun," he said. "The world is eager to address the concerns about global CO2 emissions and we are proposing solutions to meet the environmental challenges.''

Organizers are expecting one million visitors to attend the show.