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Plug-In Hybrid Automobiles: Better Than Fuel Based Cars?

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Electric car parked in log with leavesHybrid cars use a combination of fuel and stored electrical power (in a battery) to optimize fuel consumption and help reduce emissions. They can be seen as a stepping stone between fuel-based cars and electric automobiles. What many consumers, as well as owners of hybrid automobiles don’t realize, is that it’s possible to purchase a kit that will turn your hybrid into a plug-in hybrid automobile. In other words, into an electric vehicle. The problem with these kits is that they currently are only available on the black market, and as such they will invalidate your warranty if you install them. They are also better suited to certain hybrid automobile models than to others.

Are plug-in hybrid automobiles fully electric?

While plug-in hybrid automobiles (PHEV’s – Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) do provide the convenience of being able to charge your car and use electric power for short distances, they are not fully electric cars. That is, you’ll still need to rely on gas as backup when your charge runs out. Fully electric vehicles such as the EV-1 that were introduced in the 1990’s, along with its predecessors (that were never released to market) are able to travel longer on a charge than is a plug-in hybrid.

What are the advantages of plug-in hybrid automobiles?

A plug-in hybrid automobile still carries the advantage over a hybrid automobile. Namely, if you only drive short, local distances, you may never need to tap into your backup gas tank. Furthermore, your service costs (repairing your car at the local garage) will be much lower if you rely primarily on electric power. And finally, believe it or not, your plug-in hybrid may well carry enough power to power your home for a short period in the event of an electrical outage.

How do plug-in hybrid automobiles affect our air quality?

We’ve seen how you as the consumer can save a ton of money via a plug-in hybrid automobile, but what about the environment? As Earths’ Friends, we’re always concerned how new technologies may impact our host planet. Pacific National Lab conducted studies that show that plug-in hybrid automobiles do indeed remain cleaner as they get older – another benefit considering the disposal of old fuel-based cars is a hazard to the environment. More importantly, the study shows that greenhouse gas emissions, should plug-in hybrid automobiles be widely adopted, will be reduced dramatically over the coming decades. One concern that has been raised is whether the use of so many plug-in hybrids will cause the need for additional power plants to support the increased electrical pull on our grids? The answer is yes, but only for cars that are charged during the day.

Plug-In Electric Cars are Gaining Popularity

Plug-in electric cars are growing in popularity. With the price of gas, drivers want a car that is easier to “fuel up”. According to the Huffington Post, 10,538 electric cars were sold in the U.S. in September 2014. A total of 1,246,006 vehicles were sold in the month of September, making plug-in vehicles .85% of those sales. This is the highest percentage to date.

Popular hybrid, electric, plug-in, whatever you want to call them cars include the following:

  • BMW ActiveE
  • Chevrolet Spark Ev
  • Chevrolet Volt
  • Ford C-max Energi
  • Ford Focus Electric
  • Ford Fusion Energi
  • Honda Accord Hybrid Plug-In
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Tesla Model S
  • Toyota Prius Hybrid Plug-In
  • Volvo C30 Drive Electric

Charge your plug-in hybrid at night to reduce pressure on the grid

Forecasts show that plug-in hybrid automobile sales will account for 20% of new-car sales in the U.S. by 2020. If that’s the case, between 8 and 160 new power plants will be needed to support the new electrical demand on our electrical grids. That seems like a huge discrepancy, and there’s a reason – if you charge your plug-in hybrid at night (after 10pm), you will be tapping into the grid when its capacity is greatest. If everyone does this, it’s possible that we won’t need to add nearly as many power plants as we would if people charge their hybrid cars whenever they feel like it.

Bottom line? Plug-in hybrid automobiles present a huge opportunity to reduce greenhouse emissions using  presently available technology. What are you waiting for? Spread the word by discussing and asking for plug-in hybrid automobiles!

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14 Comments on "Plug-In Hybrid Automobiles: Better Than Fuel Based Cars?"

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Anonymous
Anonymous
I am interested in finding answers to the following questions. Please add these topics to this article. 1. What is the source fuel for the average American’s electric power? I have heard somewhere that most electric plants in the U.S. are powered by coal. Does that mean plug-in hybrids actually replace gas power with coal power? 2. How long do hybrid car batteries last (service life of the battery)? Are these “green” bio-degradable batteries, or are they full of exotic chemicals? What is the environmental impact of recycling batteries of millions of hybrid cars? Greenhouse gas emissions may be lower,… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
This was one of the more interesting articles I have seen in a while regarding the new types of vehicles that the auto industry has been producing. I think it is very interesting to see how the demand for cleaner and more fuel efficient vehicles in the last decade or so has led to such incredible changes in industries that many people once thought were too old, stuffy or stuck in their ways to ever really do anything different. The plug-in hybrid vehicles of today are certainly proof that the auto industry is indeed interested in changing with the times.… Read more »
Kathy Faust
Admin
Kathy Faust
I like the way the car can be used to power the house if need be. Since we just had a rash of storms and so many people were without electricity and some still are, this would have been the perfect solution. But I also like the ideas that people are putting in here about using solar power to charge the batteries to even further reduce your carbon footprint. I just don’t think that people realize how many ways there are to create electricity. Everyone talks about solar power, but there are many more ways to generate your own electricity.… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
A hybrid vehicle can be turned into a plug-in vehicle through the purchase of a special kit. Of course, most of these kits are purchased illegally since they will invalidate the warranty if they are installed. However, using something like this makes it possible to recharge your vehicle at night. It is also very possible to be able to run your vehicle for shorter distances solely on electric power. In fact, if your primary driving needs are local, short distance runs, then it is quite possible that tapping into the back up gas fuel source may not be needed. This… Read more »
Kathy Faust
Admin
Kathy Faust
I’ve been very interested in buying a Chevy Volt as my next vehicle, but I got to thinking about the cost to charge an electric hybrid. With the cost of electricity constantly on the rise, it’s hard to believe that any money would be saved. While it would be nice to visit the gas station less often, I can only imagine what it would be like to receive the electricity bill. I do like how this article pointed out the need to charge your vehicle at night to reduce the strain on the grid, which just made me realize that… Read more »
Kathy Faust
Admin
Kathy Faust
I really want a hybrid car. I do no drive very much, so I can’t imagine that it would use very much gas, In fact, my biggest problem might end up being that my gas sits in my tank so long that it goes bad. I noticed that you mentioned plugging in the car at night so that you are not using too much power from the grid during the more active hours of the day when the grid is kept busy with household use. That makes a lot of sense, but did you know you can take things a… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
A plug-in hybrid vehicle uses a combination of both fuel and electric power. They have both types of engines, but the electric portion must be charged. The author suggests that such a vehicle could be a good stepping stone between a fully gas powered car and a fully electric vehicle. Of course, these vehicles are not up to the point yet of being able to travel more than short distances on their electric power alone. Of course, if most of your driving is done over short distances, than this could be a nice option for you to consider. I was… Read more »
Kathy Faust
Admin
Kathy Faust
I was laughing so hard when I read the part about the hybrid car powering the house in the case of an electrical outage. That’s just too funny. “Hey hun…a storm is on the way. Forget the flashlights and go plug the car in”. Yes, I do crack myself up. But seriously, how cool is that? There are a couple of areas that concern me here though. For one, I had heard that the cost of the battery for these things is unreal, yet you are saying that electric repairs are going to be cheaper than traditional ones? I don’t… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
Now if you put Solar Energy Panels (PV) on your Home roof and car port you can drive 50 to 80 miles each day FREE. Energy From the Sun. Many are doing so all over the Earth. Electric Cars and Hybrids Cars that run on Electric and some other fuel will soon out sell all others. With the Help of Solar Energy and People around the Planet getting more knowledge every day of it on the news and seeing it on more roofs everywhere. Those that have the intelligence to see the good in Solar Energy are growing every day.… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
I’d like to point out that it’s not just about the newest automotive technologies and the fattest wallets that can afford to pay for the latest and greatest clean energy fad. It’s quite easy to reduce your carbon footprint to near zero by riding your bike, or, for longer commutes – taking public transportation. I don’t know a city where there isn’t a bus (if not a train or subway) that can take you where you want to go. The key with public transit is that it takes many people at once – so the average carbon emissions per person… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous

I like the concept of plug-in hybrid cars. My only question is why is it taking so long for these products to hit the market? I know that working concepts have been around for quite a while now. Hopefully soon we’ll be able to completely replace petrol and diesel automobiles.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Plug-In hybrid automobiles are now becoming more and more popular worldwide and people must be aware that this innovation can help in saving the Earth by its friendly ways and efforts. I just hope that these kits will be available in the local markets too.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Wow, hybrid cars are genius? Are they available worldwide? I live in East Asia, and I haven’t seen them here…

an environmentally conscious drifter
an environmentally conscious drifter

Electric energy is very expensive, it’s just the pollution matter solved with this type.

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