Plug-in Hybrid

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHV), or plug-in hybrid is a hybrid vehicle which utilizes rechargeable batteries, or another energy storage device, that can be restored to full charge by connecting a plug to an external electric power source (usually a normal electric wall socket). A PHEV shares the characteristics of both a conventional hybrid electric vehicle, having an electric motor and an internal combustion engine (ICE); and of an all-electric vehicle, having a plug to connect to the electrical grid. Most PHEVs on the road today are passenger cars, but there are also PHEV versions of commercial vehicles and vans, utility trucks, buses, trains, motorcycles, scooters, and military vehicles.

The cost for electricity to power plug-in hybrids for all-electric operation has been estimated at less than one quarter of the cost of gasoline in California. Compared to conventional vehicles, PHEVs reduce air pollution locally and dependence on petroleum. PHEVs may reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming, compared with conventional vehicles. PHEVs also eliminate the problem of range anxiety associated to all-electric vehicles, because the combustion engine works as a backup when the batteries are depleted, giving PHEVs driving range comparable to other vehicles with gasoline tanks. Plug-in hybrids use no fossil fuel during their all-electric range and produce lower greenhouse gas emissions if their batteries are charged from renewable electricity. Other benefits include improved national energy security, fewer fill-ups at the filling station, the convenience of home recharging, opportunities to provide emergency backup power in the home, and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) applications.

Chinese battery manufacturer and automaker BYD Auto released the F3DM to the Chinese fleet market in December 2008 and began sales to the general public in Shenzhen in March 2010. General Motors began deliveries of the Chevrolet Volt in the U.S. in December 2010. Deliveries to retail customers of the Fisker Karma began in the U.S. in November 2011. The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid was released in Japan in January 2012, in the United States in late February 2012, and in Europe by late June 2012. The roll-out of the Ford C-Max Energi began in the U.S. by mid October 2012.

As of November 2012, more than 62,000 highway-capable plug-in hybrid electric cars have been sold since December 2008. The Chevrolet Volt family, including its siblings Opel/Vauxhall Ampera, is the world's best selling plug-in hybrid with more than 35,500 units sold through November 2012 in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, and other European countries. The Toyota Prius PHV is the second top selling plug-in hybrid with more than 23,300 units sold in Japan, the U.S. and Europe through November 2012. Ranking third in worldwide sales is the Fisker Karma, with about 1,500 units sold by September 2012.

Until 2010 most PHEVs on the road in the US are conversions of conventional hybrid electric vehicles, and the most prominent PHEVs are conversions of 2004 or later Toyota Prius, which have had plug-in charging and more batteries added and their electric-only range extended. Several countries, including the United States and several European countries, have enacted laws to facilitate the introduction of PHEVs through grants and tax credits, emissions mandates, and by financing research and development of advanced batteries and other related technologies.

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Read more about Plug-in Hybrid:  Terminology, History, Greenhouse Gas Emissions