GE Joins Chrysler in Development of Plug-in Hybrid
Chrysler is jumping into the plug-in hybrid frenzy with a little help from General Electric. Chevrolet, Toyota, and Ford are already working on plug-in hybrids and have plans that vary from selling the vehicles to consumers (Chevrolet Volt) to fleet use (Toyota and Ford) by 2010.
GE developed a dual-battery energy storage solution, which will be used to store the power for a plug-in hybrid. The technology comes from diesel-electric hybrid locomotives and a GE official told Automotive News the locomotive is like a "6,000-horsepower Prius on rails." GE officials see lots of similarities between the automotive and locomotive applications of the hybrid system, and want to help Chrysler bring a plug-in hybrid to market.
Plug-in hybrids have slid into the spotlight recently, which is partially due to the rising cost of gas and an interest in lessening our dependence on petroleum products. Bill Reinert, national manager of the advanced technology group for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., is quick to point out the 100 mpg figure so many people are crediting the plug-in hybrids with may not apply to all drivers in the real world. We'll have to wait a few years to determine the real-world mpg numbers, but that isn't lowering consumer interest or media hype.
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