Plug-in Hybrid Fact Sheet

What is a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle?

Car with PlugA Plug-In hybrid electric vehicle ("Plug-in") is a conventional hybrid car, such as a Toyota Prius, with a more powerful battery and a simple electric plug. Although the Plug-in looks and feels like a "regular" car, its battery can be plugged in and charged at any outlet at home or in a parking garage, allowing 20 to 60 miles of all electric driving. It’s like having an electric car with an insurance policy – you fill up at home from a standard outlet, at an equivalent cost of under $1/gallon, and when your battery runs out, your car operates as a regular fuel-efficient hybrid.

What are the benefits of a Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle?

  • The Plug-in is fueled in part by cleaner, cheaper, domestically produced energy. This results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved air quality, even on the national grid.
  • The consumer, charging the car with a standard extension cord, has dramatic fuel savings, reduced vehicle maintenance costs, and more free time (fewer trips to the gas station).
  • The nation benefits because fueling with electricity reduces our dependence on imported oil and reduces our trade deficit.

What is the electric range of a Plug-in?

Electric range depends on the size of the battery in the vehicle. Demonstration Plug-ins currently have all-electric ranges between 25 and 60 miles. Plug-ins can also be configured to run on a mixed mode, switching automatically between electricity and gasoline (or other liquid fuel) to maximize fuel efficiency.

How much more will a Plug-in cost versus a comparably sized conventional hybrid?

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) estimates that, with mass production, the cost of a Plug-in battery will add $2,000 to $3,000 to the cost of a conventional hybrid. After factoring in the lower costs of fuel and maintenance, mass-produced Plug-ins should provide better overall economics than the equivalent gasoline powered car.

Aren’t you just moving the pollution from the car’s tailpipe to the coal powered electrical plant?

No. Recent studies demonstrate that emissions of most pollutants and greenhouse gases are lowered by a shift from internal combustion engines to Plug-in vehicles.  Further, as grid electricity continues to get cleaner, incorporating renewable energy like solar and wind, the environmental benefits of Plug-ins only increase. If you have photovoltaics (solar panels) on your home, you can generate the energy to power your vehicle completely off the grid.

Where can I get a Plug-in Vehicle?

Despite public demand for Plug-ins, automakers are not yet making them available for commercial sale. Both Toyota and GM have publicly stated that they are on a course to bring Plug-Ins to the mass market. Some small companies and non-profits are converting conventional hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, into Plug-ins to demonstrate that these cars are a viable near-term transportation solution.

What can I do?

Tell automakers that you want to be able to purchase a Plug-in vehicle now and that you want choices in Plug-in vehicles! Sign our petition to declare your support for these cars!