March 9, 2008

Transportation- Plug-in Hybrid

Plug-in Hybrid

What is a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV)? (also known as grid-connected hybrids, gas-optional hybrids, or GO-HEVs).

A. (PHEV) is a hybrid electric vehicle with batteries that can be recharged by connecting a plug to a standard 120 volt outlet/electric power source.

1. Examples- Most PHEVs on the road today are passenger cars. PHEV are powerful enough to run commercial passenger vans, utility trucks, school buses, motorcycles, scooters, and military vehicles.

B. Why are PHEV important?

Hybrid cars + electric power grid

reduced gasoline consumption by 85 billion gallons per year.

27% reduction in total U.S. greenhouse gases,

52% displacement potential of U.S. oil imports,

$270 billion avoided in gasoline expenses

Electric vehicles use batteries that are charged through outlets, but don’t have alternate ways to charge the battery, thus limiting the range they can travel (increasing the size of the battery to increase the distance has its limits, and unlike filling up the gas tank, charging the battery can take at least a few hours, depending on the size of the battery). Plug-in hybrids combine the best of electric vehicle and hybrid vehicle technologies. You get the benefits of short trip zero car emission travel coupled with extended range limited only by the availability of gas stations.

They have potential to be even more efficient than conventional hybrids because a more limited use of the PHEV's internal combustion engine may allow the engine to be used at closer to its maximum efficiency.

(While a Prius is likely to convert fuel to motive energy on average at about 30% efficiency (well below the engine's 38% peak efficiency) the engine of a PHEV-70 would be likely to operate far more often near its peak efficiency because the batteries can serve the modest power needs at times when the combustion engine would be forced to run well below its peak efficiency.)

B. BENEFITS of Plug-ins PHEVs

* 95% same hybrid with larger battery, batteries can last at least 100,000 miles, technology will get better

Larger or higher density of battery has = more electricity can be stored storage =increase electrical vehicle range can operate.

* Estimated cost to power plug-in hybrids by electricity:

- less than one quarter price of gasoline in California.

* Can reduce air pollution and lessen greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

* Plug-in hybrids use no fossil fuel during their all-electric range if their batteries are charged from renewable energy sources (WIND).

* Improved national energy security.

* Fewer fill-ups at the filling station lower dependence on petroleum.

* Quiet car, higher MPG up to 100 mile per gallon

*From 50 times a yr to 5 to 10 times a year visits to gas station

* Convenience for home/work recharging.

* Opportunities to provide emergency backup power in the home.

*Quieter vehicle

*Electricity principle fuel source to run off for the first 40-60 miles of travel –average car drives 32 miles per day.

* Vehicle to grid applications.


(V2G) describes a system in which power can be sold to the electrical power grid by an electric-drive motor vehicle that is connected to the grid when it is not in use for transportation. Alternatively, when the car batteries need to be fully charged, the flow can be reversed and electricity can be drawn from the electrical power grid to charge the battery.

Vehicle-to-grid can be used with such gridable vehicles as Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) or Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). Since most vehicles are parked an average of 95 percent of the time, their batteries could be used to let electricity flow from the car to the power lines and back, with a value to the utilities of up to $4,000 each per year. However, limitations of battery technology may mean that V2G will not be widely available any time soon.

2.) A hybrid or fuel-cell vehicle:

Generates power from storable fuel, uses its generator to produce power for a utility at peak electricity usage times. Here the vehicles serve as a distributed generation system, producing power from conventional fossil fuels.

3.) A battery-powered or hybrid vehicle PHEV uses its excess rechargeable battery capacity to provide power to the electric grid during peak load times. These vehicles can then be recharged during off-peak hours at cheaper rates while helping to absorb excess night time generation. Here the vehicles serve as a distributed battery storage system to buffer power.


As long as it has fuel, the Prius can produce at least three kilowatts of continuous power, which is adequate to maintain a home’s basic functions. Toyota Prius into the backup Uninterruptible power supply [UPS] unit in his house and soon the refrigerator was humming and the lights were back on.


Solar energy is 6 to 8 times more expensive, natural gas prices rise, but wind power is financially stable, environmentally friendly, and available immediately. 90% of public opinion changes after wind turbines are placed.

Reduces need to make additional power during peek times.

Ex) Localenergy promotes wind energy hybrid infrastructure for regional use in NYC addressing issues of transportation and electricity production. It has a financially competitive and renewable forms of electricity.

E. GOOGLE providing a model and test run.

1. RechargeIT

RechargeIT is an initiative within's Climate Change Program aimed at accelerating the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles ("plug-in hybrids") and vehicle-to-grid ("V2G") applications. As a "hybrid" philanthropic venture itself, can apply a broad mix of resources - investments, grants, policy, public engagement - to addressing the climate crisis. Check out the highlights:

2. Plug-in Hybrid Demonstration Fleet at Google:

Google has created a small demonstration fleet of plug-in hybrids and eventually plans to include over 100 plug-in hybrids in its corporate fleet as demand grows and cars become commercially available. has contracted with Hymotion to retrofit 4 Toyota Priuses and 2 Ford Escapes. is demonstrating the capabilities of this technology, collecting actual data on the performance of these vehicles, and making this information available to the public. All of these cars are outfitted with data recording devices that track technical and environmental performance, use patterns and charging history. You can see the actual data which is uploaded from the vehicles. Both electricity and gasoline use data is being used to calculate the total energy use for each vehicle to get 'real world' performance data on these cars. In order to compare this data to other cars under similar conditions, we are equipping existing stock hybrids and conventional cars with the same data recording devices. With this data, we hope to be able to measure the mileage of plug-in hybrids vs. conventional gas and hybrid vehicles under realistic driving conditions.

A. Disadvantages

Plug-in hybrids are NOT currently commercially available (though Toyota is interested and GM’s has a concept car Chevrolet Volt for dialogue with public). Retrofit existing hybrid vehicle through conversion company.

1. Additional Cost, weight, and size of larger battery pack

2. Electrical outlets outside garages

a) they will need access to electrical outlets to take advantage of all-electric b) New electrical outlets near their places of residence, or in commercial or public parking lots will need to be installed for them to gain the full advantage of PHEVs.

3. Emissions shifted to electric plants but there are other options.

-No extra power plants would need to be built.

4. Increased pollution (but wind power is renewable)

Although clean coal technologies could create power plants which supply grid power from coal without emitting significant amounts of such pollutants, the higher cost of the application of these technologies may increase the price of coal-generated electricity.


(Please note: references and content will be updated).

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