Ron Gremban of CalCars has written an interesting guest piece over on Green Car Congress examining the debate between General Motors and Toyota that started last fall about the best approach to plug-in hybrid vehicles. The debate started when Toyota executives criticized the whole series-hybrid/extended range EV approach of the Chevy Volt. Gremban does a good analysis of the numbers looking at each type of powertrain over different driving cycles. So the obvious question is: Who's right, GM or Toyota? Both. As the old saying goes, tell me which side of the argument you're on and I'll give you the statistics to prove you're right.
The bottom line is that the better configuration depends on which driving cycle you use. For the foreseeable future as batteries remain expensive, getting maximum benefit depends how far you drive and at what speeds. For shorter driving cycles and lower speeds, the less expensive blended PHEV approach used in the plug-in Prius and Saturn Vue get the most benefit from a smaller battery. People who drive at higher speeds or longer distances will get more benefit from an E-REV like the Volt, which comes at a higher cost. The bottom line is that there is no one right answer for everyone. The replacement of petroleum will require a diverse approach to energy. The best answer will depend on where you live and how you use the vehicle.

[Source: Green Car Congress]

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