Last week, a dozen cities, over 100 public power utilities, businesses and a host of national policy groups kicked off a nationwide campaign to urge automakers to accelerate development of plug-in hybrid vehicles. The “Plug-In Partners” campaign is hoping to demonstrate a large market potential so that automakers will start producing plug-in vehicles.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) would combine today’s new gas-electric hybrid technology with larger batteries that could provide an all-electric operating range of 25 to 35 miles or more. The result is an 80+ mile-per-gallon vehicle.
Plug-ins could be recharged by plugging into a standard wall socket, delivering “electric” gallons of gas for about $0.75-$1.00 per gallon. Experts estimate there is sufficient generation in place and available at night to charge up to one-third of all vehicles in America, if they were plug-ins.
Austin, TX, has pledged $1 million in city rebates to help citizens and businesses purchase the first wave of plug-ins to roll off assembly lines. The campaign has been led by the municipally-owned utility in Austin. They have called for cities to initiate citizen petition drives and to encourage government and businesses to issue soft orders or expressions of interest in purchasing plug-ins. In Austin, 11,000 citizens have signed petitions calling on automakers to produce plug-ins, and soft orders for 600 plug-in vehicles have been received from government and businesses.
Non plug-in hybrid vehicle sales are projected to triple over the next six years, as more people demonstrate their desire for better fuel economy and lower emissions. According to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), half the cars in the U.S. are driven just 25 miles a day or less. This provides a perfect match for PHEVs to meet the majority of our transportation needs through electricity rather than liquid fuels.