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Plug in Hybrid (PHEV)

Plug in hybrid (PHEV) - smart vehicle for smart grid

A plug in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is a vehicle with both a conventional gasoline powered engine and an electric battery powered engine.  It is a "hybrid" because it uses two different sources of energy for it's propulsion (electricity and gasoline).  It is a "plug in hybrid" because it can be plugged in to an electric power source to recharge it's batteries.  In contrast, full electric, solar cars rely solely on electricity for their power. Existing hybrid cars, like the Prius, can be retrofitted as plug-in-hybrids.

Because electricity is the "fuel" of the future, gasoline engines are giving way to cars fueled by alternative sources of electricity, like solar, wind, biomass, wave, hydroelectric and geothermal energy.

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What makes plug-in hybrid cars unique?

Plug-in hybrids provide the benefits of an electric car, while maintaining the same driving range as conventional vehicles. Plug-in hybrid drivers travel in an all-electric mode for the vast majority of common local driving. When the battery’s electric charge is depleted, a downsized gas engine is used to either recharge the batteries (as the car moves), or as the primary source of propulsion until recharging the batteries via a plug. Surveys show that nearly 80 percent of Americans drive fewer that 20 miles a day. So people who only drive short distances would, in theory, recharge their cars every night and not refill the gas tank for years!

What are the fuel efficiency benefits of plug in hybrid cars?

A hybrid car, depending on the model, achieves about twice the fuel economy as a conventional car of the same size and capacity. A plug-in hybrid car can obtain about twice the fuel economy of a conventional hybrid. A plug-in hybrid, running on biofuel (e.g., 85 percent ethanol or biodiesel) could almost entirely eliminate its use of petroleum. On a full charge, a plug-in hybrid vehicle will travel up to 40 miles with using any gasoline at all. On average, a typical plug-in hybrid driver would get an estimated 150 miles per gallon.

Plug hybrid vs. conventional car performance

The plug-in hybrid drive system is compatible with all vehicle models and does not entail any sacrifice of vehicle performance or driver amenities. A mid-size plug-in can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than nine seconds, sustain a top speed of 97 mph and maintain 120 mph for about two minutes, even with a low battery.

What are the disadvantages of plug-in hybrid cars?

Many people living in apartments, condominiums, and townhouses do not have garages. These people would need access to on-street electrical outlets in order to power up a plug-in hybrid vehicle. PHEV batteries must store much more energy -- enough to run the car with the engine off. Most PHEV use nickel-metal-hydride batteries. They’re lighter, more efficient and quicker to charge than regular car batteries, but they are also much more expensive. So plug-in hybrid vehicles cost thousands of dollars more than gas-powered cars the same size.

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