plugin hybrid vehicles

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Plugin Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrid cars, that is, vehicles powered by two different sources of energy, are already quite popular. Plugin hybrid vehicles are less so, but their acceptance is growing and they enjoy an excellent reputation amongst some experts. Plugin hybrid vehicles run on rechargeable batteries that can be fully recharged by connecting a plug to an external electric power source. Also referred to as PHEV (plugin hybrid electric vehicle), plugin hybrid vehicles are a cross between a conventional hybrid (with an electric motor and a combustion engine) and an all-electric vehicle, plus a plug to connect to the electrical grid. Currently, most plugin hybrid vehicles are passenger models, but it’s starting to be used by other types of fleets as well, such as vans, trucks, buses, trains and military vehicles.

The cost of electricity to power plugin hybrid vehicles is less than one quarter of the cost of gasoline. Another advantage of plugin hybrid vehicles is that the combustion engine works as a backup when the batteries are depleted. Thus, concerns related to driving range are greatly assuaged. When charged with renewable electricity, plugin hybrid vehicles offer impressive environmental benefits.

One of the most talked about plugin hybrid vehicles is AFS Trinity’s Extreme Hybrid™, which was shown at the Detroit Motor Show early in 2008. It can run 40 miles on electricity before reverting to gasoline like traditional hybrids do. Since most of us drive less than 40 miles a day, with one charge per day it is possible to do without gasoline on weekdays. The vehicle’s energy storage system combines Lithium-ion batteries (the most powerful ones in the market at present) and small ultracapacitors with high power density. That enables the car to achieve top speeds and rapid acceleration in electric-only mode just like a conventional hybrid would.

One of the main concerns over plugin hybrid electric vehicles is that batteries are made of rare metals, which require a great amount of water and energy to be extracted. Besides, those metals are found in remote areas with little rainfall.