"Almost ready." "The real future." "If engineers can get the lithium-ion batteries right."

These are some of the phrases from Popular Mechanics' new cover story on plug-in hybrids, which provides a good look at some of the people and technologies leading the charge to all-electric (or, at least, more electric) drive power for cars. Those phrases obviously hint at the problems engineers face in making the Chevy Volt or other mass-production PHEV a reality. But the message is that PHEVs are coming. Another quote from the article: "This is gonna be so huge!"

That's from Ric Fulop, a vice president at A123Systems. Altair's Alan Gotcher says that batteries for PHEVs should drop to around $5,000 in a few years, and maybe $3,000 after that.

Popular Mechanics does goof by saying the Tesla Roadster is already on the market (actually it's coming soon) and it still has the old 250-mile range number listed for the car (a number that is still not completely of the question, just no longer guaranteed), but we'll forgive them because the article puts the letters PHEV in the minds of more people, and that's a good thing.

[Source: Ben Hewitt / Popular Mechanics]


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