• Comparing Different Types Of Hybrid Plug In Cars

    With a slew of media attention about next generation hybrid plug in and gas-electric vehicles set to hit the market over the next couple of years, it can be overwhelming trying to decipher the differences between them. A hybrid plug-in vehicle operates similar to gas-electric hybrids using both a gasoline engine and an electric motor powered by a battery. There are a few key differences between plug-in hybrids and conventional hybrid cars. Plug-in hybrids have larger battery packs, and can be charged at home or work using standard electrical outlets. This allows plug-in hybrids to operate like electric cars, using the battery to power the vehicle without gasoline within a certain driving distance. Additionally, plug-in hybrids can achieve nearly double the fuel economy of normal hybrids depending on the model, and they virtually eliminate the use of petroleum for in-town driving. Although there are none on the market yet, there are several plug-in hybrids set to be released in the near future. Here is some information about the most anticipated makes and models set to be released over the next few years.

    The Toyota Prius hybrid is the best selling gas-electric vehicle on the market, and up until recently the company had been shying away from the idea of a Toyota hybrid plug-in. However, Toyota have now changed their philosophy, and have just announced that they will lease 150 plug-in hybrid electric Prius models to the US for commercial and government fleets this year. The aim is to see how Americans will respond to a plug-in Prius, and build anticipation for an upcoming release to the consumer market in 2011. The new Toyota plug-in hybrid will employ lithium-ion batteries opposed to the nickle metal batteries that are used for the current version of the Prius, and is expected to achieve an electric only driving distance of about 40 miles before the gas powered engine kicks in.

    Another model that has warranted a lot of attention is the Chevy Volt. Like the new Toyota plug-in, the Chevy Volt uses a lithium-ion battery pack that lets the vehicle travel up to 40 miles without burning any gas in the process. Once the battery is exhausted, the Volt uses a gas engine to power a generator that charges the battery and allows the car to travel an additional 300 miles. The Chevrolet Volt is expected to be the first plug-in hybrid from a major car company made available to consumers in 2010.

    Looking further ahead, Ford has announced plans to produce several hybrid and electric cars over the coming years. Plans are in motion for a plug-in version of the Ford Escape which is already labeled as the most fuel efficient SUV on the market. Specifics of Ford’s plug-in models are vague at this point, but the company has vowed to invest $14 million over the next seven years towards the development of hybrids after being approved for the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program by the U.S. Department of Energy.

    Keep a close eye on the development of these future plug-in hybrids as the next couple of years should prove to be an exciting time for car technology with new models and more options being made available to consumers.