Jerry Flint takes on the issue of plug-in hybrids

The lovable curmudgeon Jerry Flint directs his keen analytical eye towards plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and why the market shouldn't expect them any time soon. The concern seems to mainly revolve around battery technology, or rather the lack there of. If one simply looks at the current state-of-the-art in nickel metal hydride (NiMH) cells, it's an understandable source of skepticism, but one that is almost certainly on the verge of becoming an outdated argument. For proof of this, we simply need to take a look at two markets that have recently taken advantage of significant leaps forward in lithium battery technology - RC models, and power tools. We're guessing that Flint doesn't play with many toy cars or gut his bathroom on a regular basis, and that's understandable. But for anyone that has seen what modern lithium-polymer and lithium-manganese battery technology can do when combined with the latest in motor technology, it seems almost laughable to ignore the possible applications for PHEVs.

Certainly, there's a large difference between getting a Sawzall to cut through more walls per charge and somehow incorporating the same technology into an automobile, and Mr. Flint is technically correct when he says that PHEVs are "not now" viable. But give battery technology a few more years to mature, and we suspect that the anti-anything-new crowd will need to find some other reason to complain.


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