Ford, GM Get Charged Up About Plug-in Hybrids

But others from Fisker to Toyota have joined the race with product to begin to appear as early as 2009.

Published: 20-Jan-2008

Major automakers say they can have plug-in hybrid vehicles in showrooms within five years, offering big increases in fuel economy for what they hope will be modest price premiums.

Based on results from prototypes, plug-ins appear capable of 50 to 100 miles per gallon on short trips when the vehicles operate mainly on their increased battery power. "If we can't decide within five years whether we can do this, something is wrong," says Greg Frenette, chief engineer for plug-in and fuel-cell vehicles at Ford Motor (F).

Plug-in hybrids are conventional gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles toting bigger batteries, which can be charged from a household outlet.

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