A new study released from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Palo Alto, Calif., indicates consumers believe plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) offer the advantages of both electric and gasoline vehicles—fuel and maintenance savings, use of an existing 120V infrastructure, long range, and popular features. Conducted by a cooperative effort of utilities, automakers, regulatory agencies, and others, the study revealed:

  • 30% to 50% of those surveyed said they would choose a plug-in HEV or a no-plug HEV mid-size sedan, even if priced 25% higher than a $19,000 conventionally powered vehicle.

  • 63% of respondents preferred plugging in a vehicle at home to going to the gas station, and

  • 86% said they had relatively easy access to a 120V outlet, which is the infrastructure needed for plug-in HEVs.

According to EPRI, the plug-in HEV (with a 60-mile all-electric range) could potentially be the first advanced vehicle to attain the equivalent of 80 miles per gallon—without using a diesel engine, expensive lightweight construction, new infrastructure, or extreme body aerodynamics.

Although the organization admits several hurdles still exist in the HEV commercialization process, including battery cost, battery lifespan, and drive system design, the study results show that plug-in and non-plug HEVs provide major fuel economy improvements and significant reductions in smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions. For more information on the study, visit www.epri.com.