Electric Hybrids Seen As Vehicles for Change

A study projects lower emissions and sufficient power grid capacity.

Published: 21-Jul-2007

The widespread use of plug-in hybrid vehicles — which could be driven up to 40 miles on electric power alone — would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States without overloading the nation's power grid, according to a new study.

The upbeat news for plug-ins, seen by many as the next big step in environmentally friendly automotive technology, came with two caveats. Achieving the maximum air quality improvements would require a significant cut in the pollution produced by electric utilities. It's also dependent on large-scale adoption of plug-in hybrids, which may not be in new-car showrooms for several years.

Even so, backers of plug-in technology were heartened by the latest findings, which could help defuse the claim that the vehicles simply would transfer the source of air pollution from vehicle tailpipes to power station smokestacks.

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