Coal-Power Can't Stop Plug-In Hybrids From Beating Normal Cars

As Benjamin reported on EcoGeek last week, even if all plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) were recharged by coal-based electricity, they would still be an improvement over regular cars. Take a look at this graph from Technology Review, who reported that “plug-ins always result in lower emissions than conventional cars.” They beat hybrids too, unless power is coming exclusively from coal:

plug-in hybrid vehicle chart

This is important news, since the authors also estimate that by 2050, 60% of US transportation could be met by plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Total impact on electrical generation may all depend on when the vehicles are charged. A recent study from Oak Ridge National Laboratory showed that charging vehicles during off-peak hours (after 10 pm) would result in only slight increases in energy draw, while charging them after work could require 160 new power plants over the next few decades.

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In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.