Among the many automotive publications from which one can choose are many that are advocates for their preferred type of vehicle. Here at Torque News, we opt not to advocate for one type of vehicle or one type of technology. That said, many of us own and drive green vehicles and many of us also have high-performance vehicles. And pretty much everything in between. So, we find it very interesting when the battery-electric-or-bust publications post a well-researched, well-constructed story on a technology other than battery-only cars.
The Case For Plug-in Hybrids Part One
Our prior example of this was a story written by an early adopter, EV-advocate, and EV consultant writing for Inside EVs. His story was unusually well researched and covered the disconnect between the public charger network's reality and what would be needed for the widespread adoption of EVs. Yes, many electric vehicle owners today charge primarily at home. The problem for widespread adoption is that a substantial percentage of the U.S. vehicle-owning population does not own a "home." They live in an apartment, condo, or other shared space, possibly rented, where an at-home charger is not a viable option. EV adoption is in its pre-infancy.
The Case For Plug-In Hybrids - Part 2
The latest story comes to us from Jennifer Sensiba writing for CleanTechnica. Her story highlights just how useful a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) can be for those who drive long distances. She makes the argument, correct in our opinion, that PHEVs have many advantages. PHEVS are electric vehicles that can drive distances under about 50 miles on electric power alone, but can they also be operated as efficient hybrid-electric gasoline-powered vehicles for hundreds of miles if need be. She points out that although public chargers are growing in number in some areas, there are states without a (private) Tesla Supercharger and states without any meaningful coverage of public superchargers. Her observations on road trips are interesting. She added the charge-up time to long-distance road trips. Most EV-advocacy stories downplay the 30-minute per 200 mile charge time needed for BEVs.
Leaf Owner Must Own Second Vehicle - Misses Her PHEV
Ms. Sensiba recounts her own personal story of how she cannot use her Nissan Leaf to go all of the places she wants to go. So, she has a second liquid-fueled vehicle. A gas burner. She points out that she misses her Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicle (PHEV). It enabled her to own one less vehicle and was a very green car. She says, "While going fully electric is a lofty goal, it’s going to be a tough sell in the near term for most people and possibly for 10 or more years for people living outside of urban areas. Nearly anyone with access to electricity at night can comfortably buy a PHEV today without the disadvantages, and still deliver most of the advantages of an EV."
Ms. Sensiba concludes, "Instead of demanding purity and saying PHEVs aren’t good enough, we should be welcoming them." And with the Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV and the Ford Escape PHEV about to join the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, practical, affordable, green vehicle choices in America are about to expand considerably.
Again, don't take our word for it when it comes to PHEVs. Take the word of EV early adopters who own and drive battery-electric vehicles. And who publish long-format, well-researched stories in EV-Advocacy publications.
Image Note: Map of EV-chargers courtesy of the U.S. DOE.
John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For two decades he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his profile at Linkedin.