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HybridCars.com Asks: Should You Buy a Plug-in Hybrid?

Despite skepticism and misinformation muddying the waters, plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sales have been increasing with new models being introduced and people saying they’ve jumped into the waters and discovered things are fine.

One of the biggest reasons to go for a PHEV is they have the range and convenience of a high-mpg internal combustion car, but also operate like an electric car for limited distances – around 11 miles for the shortest to 38 or more for the longest.

Deciding what daily range you need is a big part of whether a given plug-in hybrid gets the thumbs up. Then, assuming one keeps it in the gas-free zone, it can be recharged at home for perhaps one quarter the cost of gas and drivers can nearly kiss the gas station goodbye except when traveling longer.

The first plug-in gas-electric car – the Chevrolet Volt – was launched in December 2010, fully 102 years and a couple months after launch of the first mass-acceptance internal combustion automobile, the Ford Model T.

The Volt is only available as a dedicated extended-range EV that functions differently in all-electric and gas-only mode than the modified hybrids – Toyota Prius PHEV, Honda Accord PHEV, and Ford Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi PHEVs.
The Volt was designed uniquely as an “extended-range electric vehicle” and while it uses both electricity and gas, operates fundamentally differently than parallel hybrids designed to plug in.

The Volt was designed uniquely as an “extended-range electric vehicle” and while it uses both electricity and gas, operates fundamentally differently than parallel hybrids designed to plug in.

Together, these cars represent a shift away from a century of entrenched technology and attitudes and they are a less radical way to do it than utterly cutting the petroleum-based umbilical cord with a battery electric car.

Opinions on PHEVs are as colorful as any you’ll find on YouTube. PHEVs and all-electric cars have also had to overcome consumers’ tendencies to fence sit, not to mention surveys have shown shoppers may have no clue how these cars work before rejecting them out of hand.

Maybe we should not be surprised sales have started modestly? But while sales numbers are still well below mainstream levels, PHEVs have established a foothold, and more models are due to follow.

Helping the many fronted battle against present realities are federal and in cases state incentives, as well as some discounting and value-priced lease deals.

Read the complete story on Should You Buy a Plug-in Hybrid at HybridCars.com

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