Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles
Imagine being able to just plug in your car to recharge the battery! Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles—also known as PHEVs—are in line to be the next generation of hybrid electric vehicles. These vehicles are being designed to provide even higher fuel economy and fewer harmful emissions than those of hybrid vehicles.
Plug-in hybrids will probably have a larger battery pack than the one that's in a standard hybrid electric vehicle. The larger battery pack allows plug-in hybrids to operate predominantly on electricity for short trips. For longer trips, a plug-in hybrid can draw liquid fuel from its onboard tank, and this provides a driving range (the distance a vehicle can travel between fill-ups) that's very similar to the range of a conventional vehicle. A plug-in hybrid vehicle's onboard computer chooses between electricity or liquid fuel according to which mode allows the vehicle to operate most efficiently.
Unlike a battery in a standard hybrid electric vehicle, drivers will be able to recharge a plug-in hybrid battery using a standard electrical outlet at home, at work, or at a vehicle recharging (or swapping) station. The electricity for recharging the battery can be generated at a conventional power plant or by renewable energy, such as solar, wind, or biomass. A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle could also use an alternative fuel in its onboard tank.