Another Reason to Buy a Hybrid Car

With 60 percent of the US fleet electric hybrids by 2050 the EPRI/NRDC study found that greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide could bed reduced by 2050 by an amount equivalent to that produced by 82.5 million cars.

Published: 20-Jul-2007

Two environmental research groups estimate in a new study that widespread use of hybrid cars that plug into household outlets for recharging would equate to removing more than 80 million passenger cars from the nation's roads, reducing air pollution and saving oil.

But while several automakers are experimenting with "plug-in" hybrids, technical hurdles remain to make them commercially-viable, especially producing an affordable battery. "The opportunities and possiblities are huge," Mike Tamor, Ford Motor Co.'s top executive in hybrid and fuel cell vehicle research, said in an interview Thursday. "But it's going to be a very expensive proposition to really make all this happen."

Plug-in hybrids differ from conventional hybrids such as the Toyota Prius in that their batteries are recharged primarily by household current when they are parked rather than by their gasoline engines on the road. Proponents of the technology say that's preferable because the generators that produce electricity for the power grid run more cleanly and efficiently than the gasoline engines of individual cars.


Packing 260 hp (191 kW) from the 2.0-liter turbo BioPower engine and a total of 148 kW from its three electric motors, the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept provides significantly greater torque than its gasoline-only equivalent.

Automotive columnist James R. Healey test drives the 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid and finds that with the tax credit -- which just got cut in half -- the price difference vanishes.

Mark Phelan tests three different fuel efficiency technologies and concludes that hybrids are the past. Pictured are first Chrysler 300s to come off of European assembly line. Diesel is offered as an option in Europe on this model, but not in North America.


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