Plug-In Hybrids by 2050, is it a Reality? ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Plug-In Hybrids by 2050, is it a Reality?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Plug-In Hybrids by 2050, is it a Reality?

A new study shows that if plug in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) were adopted by a majority of the country, emissions and oil use would fall dramatically by 2050. The funding for the study was provided by two nonprofite groups, the Electric Power Research Institute, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The study showed that by 2050 if
1) marginal improvements at power plant in emissions added to 20% penetration of plug in vehicles by US drivers would cut emissions by 163 million tons.
2) Or if we assume a larger penetration of PHEVS, up to 62%, and more stringent measures are adopted for power plants, emissions could be cut by 468 million tons a year. That's the equivalent of removing 82.5 million vehicles from the road today, or about 1/3 of the light vehicle market.

A 60 percent PHEV market share would use up only 7 to 8% of the nationwide electricity in 2050. It would also reduce petroleum consumption by 3 to 4 million barrels of oil per day by 2050.

The researchers assumed 3/4 of owners would typically recharge their vehicles overnight during off-peak hours.

A separate study by the organizations found that plug-in vehicles also could lead to small improvements in the nation‘s air quality. Most regions of the country would see improvements in ambient air quality and the reduction of pollutants, they found.

"NRDC believes that a combination of more efficient vehicles, improved battery technology, and a lower-emitting electric power plant fleet can produce substantial reduction in global warming pollution from both the electric power and the transportation sectors", said David Hawkins, Director of NRDC’s Climate Center. "Our results show that PHEVs recharged from low- and non-emitting electricity sources can decrease the carbon footprint in the nation’s transportation sector."

My Opinion: I find it would be a remarkable change if by 2050 even 20% of consumers had adopted plug-in cars. After a decade of use, only 2.5% of the new cars sold this year are hybrids (that don't have to be plugged in at night).

Another key point to keep in mind is the battery technology isn't here, yet. Lithium-ion battery packs for cars have been promised by 2010, but the battery makers still have their safety issues to resolve.

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