This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 25, 2006

Coalition Launches Campaign to Promote Plug-In Hybrids

A broad-based national coalition launched a yearlong campaign on January 24th to build grassroots demand for the production of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The Plug-In Partners coalition includes the cities of Austin, Baltimore, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle; national security and environmental groups; businesses; and electric utilities. Plug-in hybrids combine today's gas-electric hybrid technology with a larger battery that can be recharged by plugging into a standard wall socket. The larger batteries allow vehicles to travel 25 to 35 miles before requiring recharging or the use of gasoline, allowing U.S. consumers to significantly reduce their gasoline consumption and costs, as well as their vehicle emissions. See the press release (PDF 64 KB) and the Plug-In Partners Web site. Download Adobe Reader.

Plug-in hybrids have been gaining momentum in recent months. In October 2005, Electro Energy Inc. announced it will be developing a battery pack for a plug-in hybrid prototype using a modified Toyota Prius. Called the PRIUS+, the prototype is being developed by the California Cars Initiative (CalCars), a non-profit startup formed by entrepreneurs, engineers, environmentalists, and consumers interested in plug-in hybrids. And in December, Raser Technologies—a developer of electric motors and controllers—helped launch the Plug-In Hybrid Development Consortium, which is made up of hybrid component suppliers working together to accelerate the commercial production of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. But as noted by ABI Research, plug-in hybrids face daunting technical challenges: their battery packs are more expensive than those in typical hybrid cars, and the batteries will be more likely to fail quickly. See the CalCars Web site, the Raser Technologies press release, the Plug-In Hybrid Development Consortium Web site, and the ABI Research press release.