Plug-In Hybrids: Now That’s Complexity

Below is a wonderful video that explains the multiple drivetrains at work in the Chevy Volt. A couple of immediate impressions:

1) No wonder the price on this sucker is $41K, with all that going on. The bill of materials (costs of the individual components) must be enough to choke a horse. And the non-recurring engineering costs must have been staggering.

2) This further amplifies my belief that plug-in hybrids really are not the answer to transportation. It’s like using an elephant gun to kill mice. Electric vehicles will succeed when we get the price, energy density, and power density of batteries into an acceptable range – and, of course, when we can get enough renewable energy on the grid that we’re not charging them with coal.

So when will this happen? The question is political will. If we rely 100% on market forces, especially while we continue to subsidize fossil fuels, it could be A Long Way to Tipperary.

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