PlugIn Hybrids (or Plugin Hybrids)

21 Фев 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи PlugIn Hybrids (or Plugin Hybrids) отключены
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1. What Are Plug-In Hybrids?

How does this sound: 100+ MPG in a regular vehicle?

We can achieve that — today — with a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). A PHEV is essentially a regular hybrid with an extension cord. You can fill it up at the gas station, and you can plug it in to any 120-volt outlet. It’s like having a second fuel tank that you always use first — only you fill up at home, from a regular outlet, at an equivalent cost of under $1/gallon .

You don’t have to plug it in. But when you do, your car essentially becomes an electric vehicle with a gas-tank backup. So you’ll have a cleaner, cheaper, quieter car for your local travel, and the gas tank is always there should you need to drive longer distances.

But wait, there’s more:

If your driving is mostly local, you’d almost never need to gas-up.

Lifetime service costs are lower for a vehicle that is mainly electric.

A PHEV can provide power to an entire home in the case of an outage; A fleet of PHEVs could power critical systems during emergencies.

2. Plug-In Hybrids Are Cleaner (Even on a Coal Grid) [ to top ]

This entire section is finally obsolete — because we now have a definitive study by the Electric Power Research Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Here’s our three-paragaph summary and a link to the first of several postings on the subject at CalCars-News :

July 2007 EPRI-NRDC Definitive Study: PHEVs Will Reduce Emissions If Broadly Adopted

The EPRI-NRDC studies finally give an environmental stamp of approval to PHEVs. Scientist have confirmed that unlike gasoline cars, plug-ins will get cleaner as they get older — because our power grid is getting cleaner.

For people looking for the most effective way to end our addiction to oil, PHEVs have made sense because carmakers can build them now, with today’s technology and using today’s infrastructure. But they’ve needed definitive proof that PHEVs won’t increase pollution. The main study shows that under all nine scenarios for both rates of market penetration of PHEVs and the evolving power grid’s characteristics (capacity/carbon intensity), PHEVs will vastly reduce greenhouse gases for the next 40 years.

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In the second study, for the next 20 years, even if, worst-case, we still use lots of coal, nationwide air quality for other emissions will also improve.

Three more points: Both reports match up well with previous studies. They reinforce the Pacific National Lab’s January 2007 findings that we won’t have to build new power plants for cars that charge at night. And we’re gratified that General Motors recognizes this study as validation of its decision to evolve to the electrification of transportation.


CA, NY, MA and other states have had Zero-Emission Vehicle programs since the early 1990s because battery electric vehicles in those states, taking into account power plants, are far cleaner than gasoline cars in reducing urban air pollution and smog. The comparison keeps being raised, though studies are conclusive:

The well-to-wheel emissions of electric vehicles are lower than those from gasoline internal combustion vehicles. California Air Resources Board studies show that battery electric vehicles emit at least 67% lower greenhouse gases than gasoline cars — even more assuming renewables. A PHEV with only a 20-mile all-electric range is 62% lower (see printed page 95 in the 2004 study ).

Nationally, two government studies have found PHEVs would result in large reductions even on the national grid (50% coal). The GREET 1.6 model in 2001 by the DOE’s Argonne National Lab estimates hybrids reduce greenhouse gases by 22%, and plug-in hybrids by 36% (see table 2). An Argonne researcher reached consensus with researchers from other national labs, universities, the Air Resources Board, automakers, utilities and AD Little to estimate in July 2002 that PHEVs using nighttime power reduce greenhouse gases by 46 to 61 percent.

Only PHEVs and battery EVs get cleaner as they get older — because the electric grid gets cleaner every decade. Plus more people are installing rooftop solar photovoltaic systems, and clean wind power is vastly expanding nationally (see study by eminent environmentalist Lester Brown cited at CalCars Kudos ). Finally, looking at the non-electric fuel, instead of using gasoline for long-trips, PHEVs could run on bio-diesel, cellulose ethanol, or other bio-fuels to further reduce greenhouse gases.

Additional resources:

PHEVs will generally recharge at night using excess power from plants that can’t shut down completely — so they don’t add to the peak load. PHEVs might one day actually help reduce it by providing power from parked PHEVs’ batteries during daytime hours (see Vehicle-to-Grid in our FAQ).

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