General Motors has caught the electric bug and is now rumored to be unveiling a prototype plug-in hybrid at next year’s Detroit Auto Show as part of the company’s rekindled interest in the electric car. The Detroit News is reporting that GM CEO Rick Wagoner is set to deliver a speech at this month’s LA show in which he’ll outline the company’s turnaround plan.

GM’s plug-in hybrid prototype will have an extended driving range on battery power alone, in addition to a fuel efficient motor that could power the car the rest of the time. However, GM still sees hydrogen fuel cells vehicles as the solution to ending the world’s reliance on oil. Plug-in hybrids are different to cars like the Toyota Prius, in that they can be charged by a normal household power outlet or via regenerative braking.

GM's plug-in hybrid will likely run primarily on electricity from the battery with the engine as a backup. Wagoner has admitted that killing the $1 billion EV1 program was his worst decision, maybe not in terms of profitability but definitely in terms of the company’s image. However, GM is not alone in the race to produce electric vehicles in high volumes. Toyota has been putting significant investment into plug-in hybrids, as has Honda and Ford and DaimlerChrysler.