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New York Auto Show: And the Winners Are...

I don't know yet when Kia will make the all-new 2015 Sedona minivan available to the press in order to be driven. Let's hope it drives as well as it could be superficially experienced at the N.Y. Auto Show introduction.

I never thought it would come to this: Is the best-looking new car in the market a minivan? Looks like it.

Now, all we can hope for is that Kia will make a plug-in electric version of this car available. Actually, one could envision two separate plug-in electric models:

1. All-electric.

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This version would have a 90 kWh battery baked into the floorpan, which could be thicker than in other electric cars because the car itself is, of course, much taller. Such a version could be sold for just under $70,000, and it might have a range of 250 miles.

2. Plug-in hybrid.

This version would have a smaller battery, 16 kWh, also baked into the floorpan. It would be supplemented by a four-cylinder gasoline engine under the hood, with a displacement of approximately two liters. The electric range would be just under 30 miles, but the total range of the car would obviously be dependent on the size of the gasoline tank. For example, a 12-gallon tank propelling the minivan to the tune of 30 miles per gallon would yield a 360-mile range after the first 30 electric miles. The price of this version would be around $55,000.

Let's hope Kia develops these two additional variants. If it does, it could come to dominate the new large car segment.

Silver Medal: Nissan's Free Electric Charging

So the second-best item at the N.Y. Auto Show wasn't even a car: It was a free electric car charging network to buyers of a new Nissan (NSANY) Leaf going forward.

Granted, much electric car charging today is already either free to the user, or otherwise not applicable. For example, many electric car buyers -- especially in an area such as Silicon Valley -- have access to free charging at work.

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