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Technology Overview: Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles

As with other hybrids, a plug-in hybrid vehicle has the ability to run on either electricity or an internal combustion engine. Plug-in hybrids have a larger battery than the batteries of conventional hybrids that can be recharged by plugging into an appropriate outlet.

Recharged vehicles can provide 20-60 miles of all electric, zero emission range without engine power. Plug-in hybrids are being tested in prototype form and may soon be available for sale.

Advantages of Plug-in Hybrids:

  • Reduced fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions
  • Cleaner electric energy through advances in natural gas and coal gasification
  • Optimized fuel efficiency and performance
  • Recovered energy from regenerative braking
  • Unchanged gas station infrastructure
  • Grid connection potential
  • "Home based" battery recharging at a fraction of the cost of petroleum equivalent
  • Pure zero emission capability
  • Even lower fueling costs compared to battery sustaining hybrids
  • Possible use in secondary markets for used batteries and reduced waste


  • Cost and complexity of two powertrains
  • Component availability--batteries, powertrains, power electronics
  • Higher initial cost
  • Cost of batteries and battery replacement
  • Added weight