The Truth About Plug-In Hybrids Featured at Green Car Journal Online

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Depending on who is doing the talking, plug-in hybrids are either a brilliant answer to our transportation challenges or a boondoggle. Plus, they're viable right now or are decades from the showroom. Who's telling the truth? Green Car Journal Online tells it like it is.

Green Car Journal Online (http://www.greencar.com) editors have seen it all. From driving time in the Sears DieHard electric vehicle during the 1970s oil embargo to witnessing the recent debut of Chevrolet's electrically-driven Volt, little has escaped the attention of Green Car's technology-focused staff. Add behind-the-wheel experience with many electric cars from automakers and small-time efforts on roads and test tracks around the world, plus a year spent behind the wheel of GM's EV1, and there's plenty of room for perspective.

That perspective is of real value today as enormous attention is being focused on electric-drive vehicles and their inherent energy and environmental benefits. The problem is that disinformation is rampant. All claims to the contrary, there is no clear-cut winner in the race to develop a one-size-fits-all answer to the transportation and energy challenges we face today, and those of tomorrow.

"There is real progress being made," points out Ron Cogan, editor-in-chief of Green Car Journal Online and editor/publisher of the Green Car Journal consumer magazine. "The problem is that so many special interests are touting their fuel or technology of choice, it's tough for most people to discern what's real, and what is not." He points to the plug-in hybrid as the latest area of controversy that's in need of a reality check.

According to Cogan, a conglomeration of plug-in hybrid interests - including electric utilities, battery companies, and would-be plug-in hybrid owners - are pushing hard for plug-ins to come to market. But what they gloss over is the extremely high cost of batteries needed to power these vehicles, a situation similar to that faced by the battery electric vehicles test marketed by automakers in the 1990s.

So who is telling the truth? Perhaps surprising to some, it's General Motors. As this automaker is sharing the vision of its recently-introduced Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid concept and the innovative E-Flex system that powers it, GM execs are also pointing out that timing for a commercial introduction of plug-in hybrids depends on overcoming significant battery issues. This, and more, is shared in Green Car Journal Online's Top Story feature, 'Making the Plug-In Hybrid Real,' at http://www.greencar.com.

Green Car Journal Online offers over 300 features and news items on hydrogen, hybrid, E85 ethanol, clean diesel, natural gas, and other alternative fuel vehicles and technologies. The site draws on 17 years of Green Car experience and extensive archives - unique in the industry - to provide unparalleled depth in 'green car' reporting. An ongoing, multi-part series drawn from the archives is currently detailing the path that's led to today's ethanol vehicles.

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Ron Cogan
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