In an article to be published in Energy Policy, authors from Carnegie Mellon have found Extended Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV) technology may not be worth the cost of the battery.
Source: Design Decisions Laboratory | Home
In an article to appear in the journal Energy Policy, the authors find that urban drivers who can charge their vehicles frequently (every 20 miles or less) can simultaneously reduce petroleum consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and expenses with a plug-in hybrid vehicle whose battery pack is sized for about 7 miles of electric travel per charge. In contrast, plug-in hybrid vehicles with large battery packs – sized for 40 or more miles of electric travel – are too expensive for fuel savings to compensate, even in optimistic scenarios.
That shouldn't be too surprising to anyone who's been paying attention to the progress being made on the Volt by GM. The battery pack is huge, is very expensive, and is heavy. That's why Toyota, based on their own study of the technology, has opted for a plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) rather than an E-REV.
But then, that's what they said about hybrids in the first place. But I'm sure anyone who sat down with a pad and pencil last summer figured out the gas savings when fuel was $4 a gallon. It didn't take that long to compensate for the hybrid technology then. And now that hybrids are getting less expensive, the time to recoup your costs are dropping even though gas seems to have stabilized at under $2.
Early cost analysis like these are important, but are also misleading. If we get more plug-ins or E-REVs on the road, the cost will come down on the battery pack. The batteries themselves could get smaller, as things are simplified.