2007/08/16

24 Hours of Good News - Plug That Car In

Want to know the future of car travel in major US cities? Then look to the plug-in hybrid vehicles that Toyota is putting on the road for testing purposes. Like traditional hybrids, these are powered by batteries and a small gasoline engine. Unlike a traditional hybrids, they have twice the battery capacity and can be charged directly from the electricity grid.

Naysayers will tell you that this technique is merely shifting the power generation from fossil fuels burned in the car's engine to fossil fuels burned at the generating station--essentially a wash, but this is nonsense. Even accounting for the generated electricity, these cars best their "pure-hybrid" counterparts by many miles per gallon. Moreover, new studies show that any opportunity to take advantage of the electricity grid reduces overall US energy dependence due to the availability of environmentally friendly energy blends. In California, where we generate more than 40% of our electricity from non-fossil fuel sources, this is especially the case.

So the next time you buy a car, ask your dealer where to attach the power cord.

2 Comments:

I want one! And I wonder if you've heard anything (good or bad) about the Chevy Volt? ~~ D.K.
Actually D.K., I know very little about the Volt but thought that it was an experimental fuel-cell car, not a plug-in hybrid.

My guess would be that Toyota beats GM to market, either way.

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