A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more distinct sources to move the vehicle. The term most commonly refers to hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), which combine an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors.
Electric vehicles, which use one or more electric motor for propulsion, are not as commonly available in North America as are HEVs. This, however, is expected to change. Mitsubishi is the late stages of testing its fully electric vehicle, the “iMiEV”, with aspirations of commercializing the vehicle by the end of 2009.
The electric car will provide a more environmentally sustainable method of travel as they produce only 30% of the carbon dioxide emissions of an ordinary combustion engine. The iMiEV has an advanced lithium battery that can charge to 80% in only thirty minutes.
Key Statistics on Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
- 300,000+ hybrid cars sold in U.S. alone in the past year (2.5% of the U.S. market)
- U.S. government has made $2.4 billion in grants (Electric Drive Vehicle Battery & Component Manufacturing Initiative) and has offered up to $25 billion in loans to long storage battery makers
- At least 5 plug-in vehicles are expected on the market in 2010, with an additional 5 in 2011
- Chevrolet Volt will go 4 miles per kWh or cost the equivalent of 92 miles/gallon (at U.S. average 12 cents kWh and $2.75/gallon)
- Warren Buffet invested $232 million in BYD (Chinese hybrid car manufacturer)
- Chery S18 (Chinese hybrid car) expected to retail for $15,000