Today, there are more than 230 million cars and trucks in the United States, of which maybe 700,000 have some form of electric motor to help drive the wheels. That's one-third of one percent — hardly the makings of an electric-car revolution. On the other hand, whether they focus on hybrids, pure electrics, hydrogen, ethanol, clean diesel or another concept, nearly every carmaker is betting R & D dollars that conventional powertrains soon will face real competition from more efficient, climate-friendly technologies.
The PHEV's main selling point is big fuel economy, using technology that's almost ready now. While hydrogen, in particular, would demand new infrastructure on a grand scale, plug-ins rely on 110-volt home powerlines and pump gasoline. Tinkerers such as Felix Kramer, founder of PHEV advocacy group California Cars Initiative, already get 100 mpg on 55-mile trips using cobbled-together PHEVs.
The article goes on to highlight a couple of industry initiatives, including the fact that Toyota plans to have a PHEV out in the market sometime in 2009. Look to Toyota to dominate this market as they have with "standard" hybrids. The so called "big three" in Detroit will simply be too stupid and shortsighted to properly capitalize on the opportunity, even with GM's hyped Volt plug-in concept, and the Japanese automakers will walk all over them. As usual.
Of course, what we really need to do is improve and increase usage of public transport nationwide, reduce the number of cars on the road by half, and significantly increase fuel efficiency. All at the same time. At least this can help with the third item.