Book Review – Plug-In Electric Vehicles

Joanna Schroeder

plug-inelectricvechiclescover2I was traveling last week and had the opportunity to rent a Toyota Prius. I jumped at the chance since I was reading, “Plug-In Electric Vehicles: What Roll for Washington,” a book authored by dozens of experts and published by The Brookings Institute. This was my first Toyota hybrid experience. However, I had driven a Ford Escape Flex-Fuel Hybrid two years ago but it has yet to come to market. It took me a bit to figure out how to actually drive the Prius, but once I did, it was an enjoyable ride and the gas mileage was great! 

So why don’t more people drive hybrids? And why aren’t there any hybrid options with a flex-fuel component (the back up for a hybrid is gas) that are actually mass produced? Or should we move to develop and adopt electric vehicles (EVs) or is the best option a plug-in electric vehicle (PEVs). Why isn’t there more government support? All of these questions are asked and answered in the this book.

While the many authors have varying ideas and opinions on the best way to bring EVs to market, there are a few points that most agree.

There needs to be more research done on the batteries (the most expensive component of hybrids and electric cars) and there needs to be an after market for these batteries.  Several authors cited an idea that was first raised by David Sandalow in his book, “Freedom from Oil,” which is the creation the “Federal Battery Guarantee Corporation”. This federal organization would, “underwrite insurance on battery life for the duration of the vehicle warranty…and gaurantee a secondary market for used battery assemblies.”

In addition, the authors agree that the government should continue to pass legislation that would encourage car manufacturers to produce and mass market EVs (of all forms) now. One way to do this is continue to have and/or increase the tax credits for consumers who purchase these cars and have the government commit to purchasing a certain amount each year for its fleet.

This book is packed with useful information so if you’re interested in learning more about plug-in electric vehicles, then this is a must read. Click here to buy this book or any book I review.

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