Plug-In Hybrids and Their Hype

Eric Peters finds plug-in hybrids promising, but their costs hard to justify.

Published: 01-May-2008

Will plug-in hybrids save us from $4 per gallon fill-ups -- or at least, ease the pain a little?

The hype about these vehicles -- which differ from the current crop of gas-electric hybrids in that they can run on pure battery power for longer and, when their batteries run down, can draw power from a household outlet instead of an internal combustion engine -- is that they have the potential to lower fuel consumption by as much as 20-40 percent over what the best conventional hybrid cars (like the Toyota Prius) can deliver.

But, there's a catch. Several, actually.

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