Report: Why Plug-In Hybrids are the Future

Joshua Duval

Despite the naysayers who assert that plug-in hybrid vehicles will never become mainstream, the supporters of PHEVs continue to trudge forward, pointing to the numerous advantages PHEVs offer.

Floyd Associates, a privately held consulting firm, has compiled a report detailing why it believes PHEVs are the most viable green-mobiles for the near future - better than traditional gas-electric hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

In the report, the firm says there are several reasons why PHEVs can succeed today. The first, and perhaps the most important, is that PHEVs match the needs of today's drivers. Citing a 1995 survey by the National Personal Transportation Survey, the report contends that the 10- to 60-mile all-electric driving range that early PHEVs will offer is sufficient for an average driver's daily commute of 30 miles. For most drivers, then, this means that the need for gasoline could be completed eliminated by purchasing a plug-in electric car.

Another reason: gas-electric hybrid vehicles have already proven that they can be successful, paving the way for PHEVs as well. In addition, there's no need to majorly alter infrastructure; all consumers would have to do to power their vehicles is hook up to the electric grid. All that is required is better access to outlets, and in some cases, heavy-duty plugs.

PHEVs also offer unprecedented reductions in fuel consumption. The report says, based on EPA data, that conventional hybrid electric vehicles have been shown to reduce gasoline consumption by about 40 percent compared with non-hybrid cars. PHEVs, on the other hand, reduce consumption by at least 70 percent. This indicates consumer energy savings of at least 50 percent, and likely more, for most consumers.

The report contends that plug-in electric vehicles may also reduce the cost of electricity. If consumers charge their vehicles at off-peak hours (at night), energy providers can sell more power when they usually would be sitting on extra capacity, allowing for the overall price of energy to come down. In addition, it could also be incentive for utility companies to build cleaner energy plants because they'll be able to recoup the investments more quickly.

In about 18 months, we'll see the introduction of the first mass-market plug-in electric hybrid vehicle into the world's most lucrative car market (provided that GM doesn't go belly-up before the Volt is ready late next year), and proponents of the PHEV movement are gearing up to support their cause. It won't be long before we find out how real the advantages - and disadvantages - of plug-in vehicles actually are. Follow the link below to Floyd Associates' website, or read the full report, Advantages of Plug-In Hybrids.

Source: Floyd Associates

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