Plug-in Hybrid Car Fans Work to Get Industry Unplugged from Oil

'My challenge right now is that I have to get a battery pack, and I am working my butt off to ensure that we do have a battery pack,' said Nick Zielinski, an engineer for General Motors.

Published: 10-May-2007

Sometime in the future, your car may make your round-trip commute with electricity generated from rooftop solar cells.

When you want to venture east of the Cascades for a weekend winery tour, an internal-combustion engine -- powered by biofuels -- would kick into action.

This vision has helped propel plug-in hybrid cars from a footnote in automotive technology into a serious alternative that car manufacturers are working to bring to market within the next five to 10 years.

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West Philadelphia High School's 'Attack' currently runs on biodiesel, but the team hopes to complete a new front-wheel hybrid drive system in the future. Photo copyright 2006, John Helwig.

Lexus already has the only hybrid SUV on sale in the UK, and now it has launched the world's first rear-wheel-drive hybrid saloon, with a trail-blazing 0-62mph sprint time of 5.9 seconds. Photo credit: EV World

If the car were to achieve its advertised fuel economy, Toyota claims it would save the average driver between 550 and 830 litres per year. At about a buck a litre for mid-grade gasoline, those are significant savings.

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