Eartheasy

Navigation

 
  Plug-in Hybrid Cars  
< move >        
 
Plug-in Hybrid Cars offer drivers the fuel-efficiency benefits of hybrid cars with the added feature of being able to plug-in to household electricity when the car is not in use. This leads to increased mileage and fuel savings.

A plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle offers extended electric-only propulsion. Drivers can use the electric mode for short trips, and switch to 'blended' mode (combined gas/electric) once the battery runs low, or if higher engine performance is needed.
   

email newsletter

sign up

 

Plug-ins require larger batteries than normal hybrids, which drives up their cost. Rechargeable nickel metal hydride (NiMh), used in hybrid vehicles, are bulky but less-expensive, while advanced lithium-ion batteries are smaller and have a higher output of energy, but are very costly. Improvements in battery storage capacity are key to the success of plug-ins.

Plug-in technology is currently in active development by the major auto manufacturers, with working prototypes of both plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and plug-in electric vehicles which have small backup gas generators.

The following plug-in cars are currently available or in development:

The LifeStraw Portable Water Filter


  Audi A3 Sportback
Chevrolet Volt
Ford Fusion Energi
Ford C-Max Energi
Toyota Prius Plug-in
Volvo V60 Plug-in

Honda Plug-in (in development)
Ford Escape Plug-in

Ford Edge HySeries Drive

Dodge Sprinter Plug-in
Jeep Renegade (concept)
Toyota 1/X (concept)
 

Audi A3 Sportback


- battery pack: 9 kWh
- range (battery mode): 30 miles
- extended range: n/a
- estimated mpg: 45 - 100
- recharge rate: full charge in 3 hours at 3.3kW

- cost: $37,900
Audi A3 Sportback
New in 2016, the A3 Sportback is a compact, sporty, luxury plug-in sedan. It sports a 1.4-liter turbocharged gas engine and an 75 kW electric powertrain providing 30 miles of electric driving. There is also a diesel version of this car. The Audi A3 accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds. Total horsepower is approx. 200 hp. Top speed is reported at 138 miles per hour with the gas engine running, but that drops down to a modest 81 mph purely on electricity.

The A3’s technical design has more similarities to plug-in hybrids like the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid or Ford’s Energi models, rather than extended-range electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt, or the range-extended BMW i3. The mileage range depends on driving style - if most driving is done in all-electric mode, expect up to 100 mpg. Long-distance driving will lower the fuel efficiency to the 40 - 50 mpg range.
 

Chevrolet Volt


- battery pack: lithium-ion
- range (battery mode): 53 miles (85km)
- extended range: 379 miles (609km)
- estimated mpg: 230*
- recharge time: 6.5 hours at 110v

- cost: $34,000 - $40.000
chevrolet volt
The Volt runs entirely on electricity, with a small on-board gasoline engine 'range extender' which acts as a generator to charge the batteries once the electric power has been expended. This is referred to as a plug-in 'series' hybrid. It is not referred to as a 'hybrid' car because the hybrids run with combined gas-electric technology acting in parallel.

The Volt's electric-only range of 53 miles exceeds the average per trip range of most drivers, and so for most trips the car will use no gas. When the car is parked at home, it is designed to use a common household plug for recharging.

* When gasoline is providing the power, the Volt might get as much as 50 mpg. But that mpg figure would not take into account that the car has already gone 53 miles with no gas at all. So let's say the car is driven 63 miles in a day. For the first 53 miles, no gas is used and during the last 10 miles, 0.2 gallons are used. That's the equivalent of 250 miles per gallon. But, if the driver continues on to 90 miles, total fuel economy would drop to about 100 mpg. And if the driver goes 300 miles, the fuel economy would be just 62.5 mpg.

 




Ford Fusion Energi

- battery pack: lithium-ion
- range (battery mode): 20
- extended range: n/a
- estimated mpg: 100 MPGe, 38 MPG gas
- recharge time: n/a

- cost: $35,600
2913 Ford Fusion plug-in hybrid
Ford's next generation Fusion is available in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions, and is well received in the marketplace as a roomy sedan. (The "e" is the mileage equivalency mettric for electric vehicles.) This mileage rating makes the Fusion plug-in the most efficient midsize sedan on the market.

The Ford Fusion plug-in hybrid, dubbed the Fusion Energi, has the latest in automotive technology, including a system of cameras designed to keep drivers from wandering out of their lanes, adaptive cruise control and parking-assist sensors.The Fusion Energi also comes with automatic start stop system technology, which Ford claims can reduce emissions and fuel consumption by 3.5 percent. Inside voice control will guide many functions of Ford's SYNC communications and entertainment system.
 

Ford C-Max Energi


- battery pack: lithium-ion
- range: battery mode: 20 miles; extended: 500 miles
- estimated mpg: 47 city/hwy
- max. speed (battery mode): 47mph
- recharge time: n/a
- available: 2012

- cost: est. $25,000 - $30,000
Ford C-Max Energi
The new van-like compact car, due out next year, will be available in the U.S. in two hybrid versions. One of those, the C-Max Energi, will be a plug-in hybrid with capabilities similar to those of GM's Volt but with a much longer total driving range. The other version, the C-Max Hybrid, will be a standard hybrid, similar to the Toyota Prius.

Instead of just pure-gas or pure-electric driving modes, the C-Max Energi will have an intermediary "blended" phase between battery-only driving and gasoline-only driving. During that time, both energy sources will be used. The all-electric range, top speed, and battery size have yet to be announced. Gasoline and diesel-powered versions of the C-Max are already on sale in Europe but aren't planned for the U.S.
 

Toyota Prius Plug-in


- battery pack: lithium-ion
- range (battery mode): 15 miles
- max. speed (battery mode): 62 mph
- recharge time: 3 hours at 110v
- available: 2012 was first model year

- cost: $30,800
Toyota Prius plug-in
Toyota was the first to bring a plug-in hybrid to market with the 2012 Prius Plug-in. There are no significant changes in the 2013 model. The Prius Plug-In uses the Hybrid Synergy Drive system of the regular Prius, which is paired with a 4.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack in place of the Prius' nickel-metal-hydride battery. The battery is located under the cargo floor along with the onboard charger.

The Prius plug-in can run in electric-only (EV) mode for maximum fuel efficiency, or "blended" mode (combined electric/gas) for enhanced performance and longer trips when recharging is not an option.

The Prius plug-in is powered by the current Prius’s 1.5-liter inline four. The electric motor generates 50kW, which combined with the battery pack, lets the car reach over 60mph in EV mode alone. The 2013 model achieves 50 mpg when operating as a hybrid.
 

Volvo V60 Plug-in


- battery pack: lithium-ion
- range (battery mode): 32 miles
- max. speed (battery mode): 70 mph
- recharge time: 7 hours at 110v
- available: 2013

- cost: (est.)$81,000 US
2013 Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid
The upcoming Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid has three drive modes: "pure" for electric-only, "hybrid" for combined gas/electric, and "power" for gas/diesel only. The diesel engine, for the European market, is a powerful 2.4 litre, 215hp. A gasoline engine will be provided for the US market. And living up to Volvo's reputation, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid was named 'Safest Electrified Car' by Europe's NCAP. Volvo expects the V60 will be the most fuel-efficient car of its class, at 100+ mpg, 49 g/km CO2, and 32 miles of electric range.

Availability will be challenging for the initial wave of vehicles coming off the line. The first 1000 diesel-hybrids are presold in Europe, but Volvo has announced it will be bringing the V60 to the US market shortly after the European introduction.
 

Honda Plug-in (in development)


- battery pack: lithium-ion
- range (battery mode): 40 miles
- extended range: 300 miles (est.)
- max. speed (battery mode):
- recharge time:
- available: 2018

- cost: n/a
Plug-in Honda
Honda plans to launch a dedicated plug-in hybrid car which will use underpinnings similar to those of the fuel-cell vehicle. (Honda also plans to have an all-electric version of the same car.) The car will be about the same size as the Accord but likely released under a different name.

Estimated horsepower is 174 and torque is 221 pound-feet. Honda estimates a 0 to 60 mph time of nine seconds. Another goal is to allow electric-only operation at higher speeds. The Accord Plug-In Hybrid, discontinued after model year 2015, was limited to 80 mph in electric-only mode. The two-motor configuration of the Accord will be continued in the new model.
 

Ford Escape SUV Plug-in


- battery pack: lithium-ion
- range (battery mode): 30 miles
- max. speed (battery mode): 40mph
- recharge time: n/a
- available: 2013

- cost: n/a
Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid
A plug-in version is currently in development for the popular Ford Escape compact SUV gas-electric hybrid. The Escape plug-in has five times as much battery capacity and hardware as the current Escape hybrid to recharge the battery from a standard household outlet.

The Escape plug-in can achieve fuel economy of up to 120 miles per gallon, Ford claims, during the first 30 miles of driving at moderate speeds after a full charge. Ford's Greg Frenette, chief engineer for plug-in and fuel-cell vehicles, forecasts 70 to 80 mpg on the highway, where the gas engine works more, and 30 miles of light driving up to 40 mph on a charged battery alone.

 


Energy Efficient LED Light Bulbs






Eco-Friendly Gifts





Ford Edge, HySeries Drive


- battery pack: lithium-ion
- range (battery mode): 25 miles
- extended range: 225 miles
- max. speed (battery mode): 85mph
- recharge time: n/a
- available: n/a
Ford Edge plug-in
The Edge is the world's first drivable hydrogen fuel cell vehicle with plug-in capability. Ford's HySeries propulsion system is similar to that used in GM's Chevrolet Volt, but with one big difference: the HySeries uses a hydrogen fuel cell, not a gasoline engine, as the on-board back-up generator. The fuel cell starts re-charging the battery when the charge level drops to around 40 percent.

Ford claims a plug-in-power-only range of 25 miles before the hydrogen is needed. After that, the Edge with HySeries can go another 200 miles on a tank of compressed hydrogen. Ford estimates the gasoline equivalent mileage of the HySeries Edge at 41 mpg city / highway combined if you drive the full range.
 

Dodge Sprinter Plug-in


- battery pack: lithium-ion
- range (battery mode): 20 miles
- max. speed (battery mode): n/a
- recharge time: 6 - 8 hours at 220v
- available: n/a
Dodge Sprinter plug-in
The Dodge Sprinter Plug-in operates, like other hybrid vehicles, on its electric motor and internal combustion engine combined. However, the Sprinter uses a diesel engine instead of gas. The diesel engine offers added fuel efficiency and more power at low speeds which suits the utility of a van/cargo vehicle.

The Sprinter plug-in is currently being road tested as a delivery vehicle for the NY Times. This is the first fleet test of a diesel plug-in hybrid system. The Sprinter is designed to benefit commercial uses where trips are short and the vehicle returns to its base for recharging.

 

Jeep Renegade (concept)


- battery pack: lithium-ion
- range (battery mode): 40 miles
- extended range: 400 miles
- max. speed (combined): 90 mph (144km/h)
- recharge time: n/a
- available: n/a
Jeep Renegade Plug-in
Chrysler has unveiled concept designs for a sporty two-seater all-wheel drive - the Jeep Renegade plug-in. The concept model features two electric motors, one for each axle, and a 1.5 liter, 115hp diesel engine. The frame and body features lightweight aluminum architecture and recyclable materials. Designed for open-air utility, the wireless interior can be hosed down, with interior water channels and drain.

The Renegade plug-in has a low gear mode, locking differentials, and a Bluetec diesel "range-extender" engine that gives it the equivalent of 110 mpg when combined with the electric motors. According to Chrysler, the Renegade is capable of achieving an equivalent petroleum fuel economy of 110 mpg.
 

Toyota 1/X (concept)


- battery pack: lithium-ion
- range (extended): 150 miles
- max. speed (battery mode): n/a
- recharge time: n/a
- available: n/a
Toyota 1/X Plug-in
The Toyota 1/X concept car has the same interior space as the Prius, but weighs two-thirds less, coming in under 1,000 pounds. This ultra-light weight lets the 1/X offer twice the fuel efficiency. The car is designed with highly rigid carbon fiber, which is reinforced by a plastic frame to ensure superior collision safety.

The 1/X also features a flex fuel 500cc engine and plug-in hybrid drive system. Toyota quotes fuel efficiency that is double of the Prius in a package that's roughly the same size and seats four. The Toyota 1/X concept car is capable of traveling 150 miles on a four-gallon tank of gasoline.
 


PLUG-IN CARS IN THE NEWS

1 Nov 2016 - Nissan Leaf second plug-in ever to sell 100,000 in US
12 Oct 2016 - BMW: Plug-in cars could comprise up to 25% of salesby mid-2020s
6 Oct 2016 - German plug-in car sales surge past 1% fir first time in September
4 Oct 2016 - When will plug-in electric sales exceed hybrid car sales? Poll results
28 Sep 2016 - Next-gen Toyota Prius could ditch hybrid propulsion and go plug-in
26 Jul 2016 - 7 plug-n hybrids with the most electric range in 2016
22 Jul 2016 - Daimler CEO says it will accelerate plans for plug-in vehicles
22 Jul 2016 - Electrics, plug-in hybrids hot on used car markets
20 Jul 2016 - Hybrids vs plug-in hybrids: the future of Toyota Prius
19 Jul 2016 - 5 factors hurting US plug-in vehicle sales


 
Plug-in Car Links:

Electric Drive Transportation Association
Information about electric vehicles, events, emissions, environmental impacts and more.
Buyers Guide for Hybrid Cars offers current price comparisons.
FuelEconomy.gov - side by side comparisons
Related Articles:

Hybrid Cars - the current hybrid car lineup, with features, prices and specifications
Fuel-Efficient Driving
- you can boost the overall fuel-efficiency of your car as much as 30% by simple vehicle maintenance and attention to your style of driving.
Car Sharing - get around town in a shared car, and save yourself the costs of car ownership.
Energy-Efficient Vehicles - the best and worst of the 2008 models