Plug-in Hybrids

Erik pointed out in response to my post about Electric Vehicles that plug-in hybrids already exist in prototype/tinkerer form. They’re not the larger win of a pure EV with a long range, but they’re buildable right now and might serve as a nice intermediate step. In a plug-in hybrid the gas engine is essentially there as a back-up — for most short trips it would never be used. This means most of the power used to move the car comes from power plants (from nightly charging) and thus the nice things that are true of EVs are true of plug-in hybrids when running on electric power. They’re a more plausible car to buy right now for those of us that don’t really want two cars but need their car to have more range than the affordable EVs available with today’s energy storage technology.

One thing that I hadn’t heard of before from their FAQ page:

What’s Vehicle-to-Grid and why would I like it?Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) is the concept of using stored energy in a plug-in hybrid’s (or electric car’s) battery to send power to the electrical grid when necessary. When plugged in, hybrids with advanced controllers can announce their identity, location and storage capacity to the grid.

Using EV’s storage to supplement grid-local power needs while they’re plugged in during the day.

Unrelated to EVs or hybrids, I’m pleased that Honda continues to power CR-Vs with 4-cylinder engines instead of succumbing to market pressure from the CR-V’s peers to offer a V-6.