Save Gas and Energy With Plug-In Electric Hybrid Vehicles and Electric Cars

Electric Cars and Hybrids - the Fuel of the Future

Can you imagine a day when you may never have to go to the gas pump again? Sound like science fiction? What about America's love affair with oil?

Maybe its time to start breaking up. Today, consumers can purchase plug-in electric hybrid vehicles rather than cars with combustible gasoline engines. These cars run on either 100% electric powered batteries (such as the Nissan Leaf) or are a hybrid vehicle that switches to gasoline when the electric battery is depleted (like the Chevy Volt). The batteries are charged overnight, or during the day when they are parked in garages or at park-and-ride facilities, plugged into converted electrical outlets.

These are not wimpy cars. In PEHVs, technologies exist to allow up to 40 miles on a single charge, at which point the vehicle switches over to fuel. Estimates are that these vehicles get from 100-125 miles per gallon. This could be much higher if you have a short commute and do not drive far enough to switch from battery to fuel power.

The ride is silent, and acceleration capabilities are satisfactory to quite good. The most pleasing prospect, however, is the fact that we can save at the pump, cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil production. At the date of this publication, gas prices are climbing into the $4-5/gallon range once again in the United States.

With hundreds of millions of vehicles on the road, especially in congested areas like Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York, the air is downright brown. Couldn't we all breathe a little easier if we convert to cleaner energy sources for our transportation?

I'm testing out the 100% electric Nissan Leaf in 2011
I'm testing out the 100% electric Nissan Leaf in 2011 | Source

How Plug-In Electric Hybrids Work

PEHVs come in all sizes, shapes and colors
PEHVs come in all sizes, shapes and colors | Source

Read More About Plug-In Electric Hybrids

Electric Car Q&As

  1. Can you plug into a regular electric outlet? Yes! All it takes is a 120-volt socket in your garage. Some organizations that are spearheading efforts to get the PEHVs into circulation are working with local municipalities and businesses to install outlets in parking garages and park-and ride facilities so that commuters can charge their cars while they are at work.
  2. What kind of batteries are needed? They are different than the regular battery in your vehicle. Some of the prototypes initially manufactured replaced the standard 1.3 kWh battery pack with a 9 kWh battery pack. Others use powerful lithium-iron batteries. Technologies continue to improve in this department.
  3. How often will you have to fill the gas tank? That depends on how far you drive your electric car between recharging. If you're only going 20-30 miles a day, theoretically, you could drive for weeks on end without EVER having to go to the pump!
  4. When will PEHVs be available? They are available now! More models, styles and price points will soon come online.
  5. How much more will PEHVs cost? The cost of the larger, more powerful batteries will increase the sticker price of a PEHV by about $2,000-3,000 over a conventional hybrid. Federal and state tax rebates may be available, however. And, it is estimated that savings of ownership will more than pay for the initial increased outlay.
  6. Are they slow or sluggish? Nope. Not at all. They are completely comparable to conventional hybrid vehicles. The Chevy Volt can reach speeds of up to 120 mph!

Go for a Ride in Toyota's PEHV

Electric Vehicles for More than just Passenger Cars

With advancing technologies, we don't have to settle for just passenger vehicles to be plug-in electric hybrids. Buses, taxis, utility vehicles, etc. They can all be powered in this more efficient, clean manner.

Barack Obama has called for all government vehicles to be hybrid. Its not clear if he was referring to PEHVs, but certainly that would seem to be the greenest way to go.

Chevy Volt is a Plug-in Electric Hybrid Vehicle
Chevy Volt is a Plug-in Electric Hybrid Vehicle | Source
Electric Cars are the future!
Electric Cars are the future! | Source

© 2008 Stephanie Hicks

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Comments 25 comments

Angela Harris profile image

Angela Harris 8 years ago from Around the USA

120 mph speed? Wow, I love these new technologies that are coming out. Thanks for the information. I'm in the market for a car soon. I'm trying to hold out for something ecofriendly. This may be the ticket.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

I'm with you Angela! I have a really short commute, so I could be one of those people that could completely avoid the gas pump! :-)


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

Very good hub and I hope more people will be able to use such wonderful technologies soon. Our earth will be a better place for it!


solarshingles profile image

solarshingles 8 years ago from london

These Toyota electric hybrid vehicles really drive very well. They look nice, they are very silent. The only characteristic I lack, considering these ultra modern cars is the size. I like large SUVs.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Ervin, I think that size is definitely one of the things that American auto manufacturers are considering with the PEHVs. They realize that a "green" car must also come in a variety of sizes for large families or for businesses that need to transport materials. The final piece in this puzzle is a battery that can be mass produced at a reasonable cost. Some early models may be out next year, like the Chevy Volt.


pjdscott profile image

pjdscott 8 years ago from Durham, UK

A most interesting article stephhicks. As a Prius owner you are "preaching to the converted"! The plug-in concept is great and not only lessens the dependency upon gas/petrol, but electricity can be generated from a variety of sources, giving flexibility.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

pjdscott, you just summarized the biggest benefits of the PEHVs over regular hybrid vehicles! Great that you are already driving a Prius. I have friends in the industry that are actually working to get these cars from the concept stage to reality, so this is near and dear to my heart. Not to mention the tremendous benefit of getting us off our dependence on oil!


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

Great info here, Steph and well presented. I'm waiting for the Chevi Volt and am very excited by the prospect of all electric cars--everything old is new again LOL in the early days of automobiles there were electric cars and " stanley steamers" but the internal combustion engine won the day. Turned out not to be the best choice in hindsight--way to go! Thumbs up.


solarshingles profile image

solarshingles 8 years ago from london

Staphanie, I'll better wait for the Chevy Volt, than. I simply cannot imagine myself to drive a small car anywhere else, but in the city. I'd rather use a bus):


In The Doghouse profile image

In The Doghouse 8 years ago from California

steph,

My husband has such a long communte, he is seriously considering another vehicle at this point.. Perhaps he sould wait a little bit longer for the Chevy Volt? Is it truly a possiblility soon? Have you heard anything more about the car?


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Robie, Erwin and In the Doghouse, re: the Chevy Volt, what I understand is that it could be commercially available in 2009. That may mean the end of 09, but still, we could see plug-in electric hybrids on the road right here in the US in about 18 months or less. What I do know is this: my friend is engaged in meetings with D.C. and state officials at very high levels to get proper legislation passed to help make this a reality. The organization has worked with Microsoft with respect to smart technology that will be able to work out commute congestion and with power companies optimize impacts on electric grids. I could say more, but I don't want to jeaopardize his organization's efforts or make it look like I am "leaking" information. I do believe this will be a reality on a number of levels. They are even proposing new park and ride facilities at which commuters would be able to plug in vehicles to recharge during the day, hop on a bus or light rail, and also shop at targeted kiosks such as dry cleaners, Amazon.com (pick up orders) and more. It is so exciting, I am only scratching the surface. Oh, and one final note. My friend is not buying another car until he can get a PEHV because he believes it will happen soon.


solarshingles profile image

solarshingles 8 years ago from london

Stephanie, WOW...thank you for your thorough information about this topic. I didn't know, that you are personally so well informed on this very interesting and very environmentally positive topic. So we could expect great changes, quite soon. Electric hybrid vehicles are finally won the game, considering their inclusion in the institutional planning.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Yes Ervin, there is so much more than meets the eye. I think the public will soon find out that plug-in electric cars are not just a dream, but a reality to the nightmare that is rising gas prices all over the world. The organizations that are moving this technology forward are (excuse the pun) very well plugged in with influential corporations, state and national departments of transportation and legislators across the United States. Hold on tight for the next 12-24 months.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Great work Steph.

The only reservation I have is the supply of electricity from brown coal to fuel electric cars.

Where I live a lot of our power is from low grade filthy brown coal.

The other factor with electric cars is weight, but the batteries are getting lighter and stronger so I guess this will improve with more development


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi earnesthub - I live in the Northwest of the United States, where most of our electrical power comes from hydro and other "cleaner sources." Hopefully, with the advent of solar power and wind energy power, we can power the grid for PEHVs, which will use less foreign oil and over all..... we all win. Yes, they are working on batteries too, which will make things more affordable and lighter. Thanks for the great comment.


hybrid man 7 years ago

This toyota electric hybrid car look very nice for me:) thank you


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

I'm with you there! And, with the new battery changing stations, you can zip in and replace your depleted battery with a fully charged battery in less time than it takes to refuel at the gas station.


Eco friendly cars 6 years ago

Most of the energy used by plug-ins comes from electricity and not from gasoline. That electricity can be generated efficiently and cleanly from America's abundant domestic energy resources, thus greatly reducing our dependence on imported oil.

http://www.greenliving9.com/eco-friendly-cars.html


Mr Rudi O'Neil 6 years ago

Even if we did all have these types of vehicles, the world of the smart grid would not be able to handle it, anyway. Not that we will all have these type of vehicles any time soon, given the fact that all the car manufacturers want to charge us stupidly high prices for them.


salt profile image

salt 5 years ago from australia

thanks, interesting and I try to keep up with the current technology on hybrids of all types!


Kyle246 profile image

Kyle246 5 years ago from United States

I would much rather drive the Chevy Volt built and designed in America. It can go more miles on electric power than the Prius btw.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

I do like the Volt a lot - and I got to see and sit in one at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 2011. Looking forward to owning a plug-in car someday!


ForYourInfo 5 years ago

I am eagerly waiting for the day.

It will be good for us, it will be good for our environment.


lime light power profile image

lime light power 5 years ago from NY NY

Great hub and lots of really good commentary. I'm in the market for a second car right now, need one for our household and have been thinking all electric, maybe Volt - maybe time to do a little test driving.

For any of you guys who might want to learn about a good cause for the EV / PHEV future:

http://hubpages.com/autos/Electric-Vehicle-Chargin...


old albion profile image

old albion 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi stephhicks68. An excellent hub yet again. You are absolutely correct, electric cars are the future.

Graham.

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