Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles

Like any electric vehicle, the limiting items are battery technology and cost.

Published: 05-Jan-2007

Hybrid cars and SUVs are selling well, with ever more coming to market. Hybrid school buses are already carrying kids. Hybrid shuttle buses, refuse and utility trucks are ready for production. FedEx, UPS and Puralator have hybrid package-delivery trucks in their fleets. Some 500 hybrid electric transit buses are already in service around the country.

Next step are plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, also called grid connected hybrids. The PHEV's batteries are charged from the electric grid using a common household 110-volt outlet while parked, as well as by the internal combustion engine while driving. This reduces the amount of time the internal combustion engine has to operate, and thus reduces fuel consumption and emissions. PHEVs can be plugged into the electric grid at night to recharge the batteries when electric rates are usually lower. PHEVs have larger capacity batteries so they have longer "electric only" ranges.

General Motors plans to offer a Saturn Vue Green Line plug-in hybrid that could double the fuel economy of any current SUV and offer electric-only propulsion for more than 10 miles. Toyota has also indicated that is working on a PHEV, probably for the hot selling Prius.

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RELATED NEWS ITEMS

Smaller cars and more hybrids are emerging trends among carmakers, both foreign and domestic, including the introduction this year in North America of the Toyota Yaris, pictured below.

Mercury Mariner Hybrids are built at the Kansas City Assembly Plant. Pricing for the 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid starts at a manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) of $29,840.

Starting price has increased $2,000 from last year, with the base Civic Hybrid now carrying a manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $22,400.

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