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Plug-in Hybrids Part of Final Energy Bill

The House and Senate committees have come to agreement on the language of the energy bill (all 1,724 pages of it). Once approved by the respective bodies, it will go on to the President.

A longer review of this will follow shortly, but one immediate item of note: support for the development of plug-in hybrids and flex-fuel hybrids (proposed by Obama) remains in the final bill.

Section 706 of the Energy Bill (Joint Flexible Fuel/Hybrid Vehicle Commercialization) establishes a program to develop and to commercialize either a combination hybrid/flexible fuel vehicle or a plug-in hybrid/flexible fuel vehicle.

Preference is to be given to proposals that:

  • Achieve the greatest reduction in petroleum fuel consumption

  • Achieve not less than 250 miles per gallon petroleum fuel consumption

  • Have the greatest potential of commercialization to the general public within 5 years

Congress is authorizing the appropriation of a total of $40 million between 2006 and 2009 to carry this out. A small amount relative to the magnitude of some of the other sums tossed about in the bill, but significant.

More to come.



Wait a second--they actually got something right in the energy bill???

Room spinning... stomach queasy... must sit down...

In all seriousness, this really is good news. I've been saying for a long time that PHEV's will play a major part in our transportation future; I'm now convinced that it could happen even sooner than I had thought, possibly in just 3 or 4 years.

Good thing the US electricity infrastructure has so much spare capacity. Oops.


$40 million over 5 years for plug-in hybrids is peanut money. One thousand times that amongh is required.


Inregards to a previous post by..

Why is a thousand time more money than $40 million over 5 years required? We have the technology already to do it. Once it is brought to market the consumer will request it.

EnergyCS and Valence Technology's are releasing a commercial plugin hybrid kit for the Prius early next year. Probably around 12K to upgrade your current prius from 60mpg to around 120mpg.

What we need is additional tax incentives for these companies and for the consumer to bring this product to market quickly and affordably. Instead of giving incentive to oil producers. Can anyone answer why we are giving incetive to oil companies?


Why is a thousand time more money than $40 million over 5 years required?

You answered the question yourself. It currently costs $12k to do the upgrade. Research, marketing, infrastructure, and supply chain improvements are all necessary to slash that cost, thereby making it an attractive looking deal to consumers.

Tom McClendon

Barack Obama 2008!

Paulo Nery

Not so great in my view.
Plug in your Hybrid and you're probably charging it with coal generated power which has lost 75% or more of the original energy in translation from coal to electricity at your home.
So, basically this is another subsidy for old-world energy and no great boost to renewable power solutions.
Besides the whole Hybrid concept only eeks out higher mileage from your gasoline. You'd get as good or better mileage by getting more diesel engines on the roads in the US. I get 60+ mpg on the highways in my diesel car, which is about as good as a Prius.


Paulo, you're forgetting something. Right now, yes, if you plug in your hybrid to the grid it is probably getting charged with coal. However, plug-in hybrids could theoretically take advantage of solar or wind power as well. One of the problems with wind, solar, nuclear for that matter was that "Yes, they can generate electricity but they cannot power transportation." Well, now they could.


Not to mention, pluggable hybrids could largely become electric vehicles for most uses. Hybrids are the return of the electric vehicle, in a disguised form.



Additionally, hybrids serve as batteries for the grid, which make wind power so much more valuable. Currently, the variance in wind power production reduces its value, since it can't be counted on as base load. When you combine wind farms, modems, and variable rate chargers, you could essentially charge up hybrids when the wind is blowing, and even sell that electricity back to the grid when the wind stops -- thereby resulting in cheap, green charges when the wind is blowing and money making when it stops.

Sure, we're not there yet -- but even if 5% of Americans were driving plug in hybrids there'd be enough of them to set up the infrastructure and really alter the load on the grid favorably, thereby reducing oil consumption in vehicles and oil/coal/natural gas consumption in power plants.

Lance Funston

Anything that charges at night is using off-peak power which is often just wasted because they can't just shut down all the plants that aren't needed at night and are just burning fuel for nothing. Taking all that excess off-peak power and putting it in extra hybrid batteries to extend gas mileage is a very efficient use of that excess power.

Using hybrids with such robust battery packs as part of a distributed peak-shaving system, in the same way RMI suggested fuelcell hypercars might put their excess juice back into the grid is a wonderful idea which seems like it's pretty far down the road, but a great idea nonetheless.

Dan A-John

I have another comment about Plugin Hybrids. External combustion engines do not do well at variable speeds ONLY at a fixed tuned speeds hence the success of hybrids. This is the same for coal plants this is why it is a cheaper form of power for those who drive electric cars like I do even if you add the cost of the batteries. Finally even if you take all of the above away WE ARE STILL MAKING ENERGY FOR CARS IN THE USA NOT IN THE MIDDLE EAST.


I have a 4 bedroom solar powered house - all my electricity, hot water etc. is powered from the sun. I drive a Honda Civic Hybrid - no Prius' were available. I would love to have a plug-in hybrid - I have lots of extra power to charge a plug-in. I am waiting for them to become available.

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