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Plug-in Hybrids Show Potential For Even Greater Carbon Reductions

Posted Sep 12 2008 10:33am

In an effort to develop cleaner energy solutions, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has embarked on a demonstration project examining the performance and potential of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Last Wednesday (July 18, 2007), SDG&E revealed the batch of plug-in hybrids to be studied. The project, dubbed as the “Clean Transportation Program” launched by SDG&E last August 2006, hopes to improve hybrid cars’ gas mileage and reduce their emissions.

Hybrid electric vehicles have better gas mileage than standard cars, since they use a combination of gas and electricity to run. However, plug in hybrid electric vehicles get even better gas mileage than regular hybrid electric vehicles because of their ability to recharge the cars’ batteries by plugging the car into a standard 110 v wall outlet. Thus, plug-in hybrids, use even less gas, and more electricity. Moreover, if the electricity comes from a renewable source, like solar and wind, car emissions significantly decrease.

The project aims to:

· compare gas mileage of hybrids and plug-in hybrids

· compare drivers’ experiences and feedback on the two vehicles

· quantify the electricity usage and operating costs of plug-in hybrids

· respond to the safety and maintenance issues of plug-in hybrids

The main goal is to study the feasibility of plug-in hybrids, and eventually make them available to the market directly. At the moment, plug-in hybrids are only available through “after-market” conversions performed by manufacturers. Though there’s a movement afoot to make plug-in hybrids available to the public by 2010.

Current studies show that plug-in hybrids get up to 80-100 miles per gallon, more than twice of today’s best hybrids which can get up to 45 miles per gallon. If all passenger vehicles driven in the US were plug-in hybrids, the US can expect to reduce its petroleum exports by 52%!

Image from SDG&E. Click here to read more about SDG&E’s Clean Transportation Program.

"Reduce What you can, Offset What You Can’t ™"

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