Are Plug-In Hybrids the Future, or a Fad?

Cruise around the Burlington area, and you'll see several electric vehicle charging stations where conscientious drivers can plug in their battery-electric (BEV), or plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles.

A plug-in hybrid is something in between a conventional hybrid and a fully-electric car. It boasts the ability to drive a limited range on electricity only, but features a gasoline engine to extend its range for longer trips. You can see how this creates unprecedented versatility -- but many have their doubts.

Some complain that the electric range of PHEVs is too short -- with some able to travel only 11 miles on battery power alone. Others worry that the combination of an electric powertrain with a hybrid one is too complex, and produces an undue risk of breakdown. Others still complain that electric vehicles shouldn't need a gas tank at all. We should focus instead on developing longer-range BEVs, like Tesla.

Still, there is a reason so many automakers are investing in more PHEV technology. Some plug-in hybrids, like the Chevy Volt, boast an electric range as long as 53 miles, and there is no evidence that a plug-in's dual powertrain requires more maintenance than a traditional engine.

Finally, while those of us living in the Champlain Valley may have plenty of access to charging stations, visiting relatives in the mountains could be anxiety-provoking in an all-electric car. The supplemental gasoline engine means long road trips don't have to involve carefully mapping a route around charging stations.

Looking for a way to cut back on carbon emissions? Check out our used inventory at Earthycars for vehicles of every brand, and contact us about finding you the perfect pre-owned hybrid.

Categories: Green, News

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