Plug-In "Strong" Hybrids

The California Air Resources Board is holding a symposium in September 2006 to discuss ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicle) technology. If you want to submit a presentation visit their Call For Abstracts and follow the instructions.

It’s not surprising the call for abstracts includes topics such as “hydrogen storage technologies” and fuel cells “balance of plant” components. They had better hope some rather dramatic breakthroughs have occurred, or fuel cells will remain a mantra turned into a mandate, but not much in the way of real progress on clean vehicles.

What was surprising and encouraging was the call for presentations on topics such as “battery-electric vehicle products” and “plug-in hybrids.” Now those are interesting ideas! Read The 100% Electric Car to learn why batteries are currently a superior electricity storage medium compared to hydrogen, and probably always will be.

Isn’t a “plug-in hybrid” just a battery-powered car with a gasoline engine for extra oomph? In a serial hybrid, the gas engine isn’t even connected to the drive train, it just turns a generator to charge the batteries. Such a car could have the internal combustion engine run on various fuels; ethanol and gasoline, or diesel, and the car could have a large battery-pack for long range (a “strong” hybrid).

These cars are available now – just buy a hybrid and find a good tinker. This is where the market is going, and it’s unstoppable.

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