With California planning to ban gas cars by 2035, people across the state and the nation are considering a switch to electric vehicles. Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) offer consumers another option: Running on electric power for the first 20–50 miles, PHEVs then act like any other hybrid, utilizing a gas engine, energy-saving braking and the remainder of the battery to run.
Gil Tal, director of UC Davis’s Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle (PH&EV) Research Center and co-principal investigator of a 2020 CITRIS Seed Award project to standardize electric vehicle charger data, discussed with The Washington Post how PHEVs can be great “gateway” electric vehicles. PHEVs and their dual nature, he elaborated, allow users to charge their vehicles while maintaining the ability to fill up at gas stations on longer road trips.
“We’d like to get as far as we can with full electric,” Tal said. “But plug-in hybrids do have an important role on our way to 100 percent.”