Book Review: Plug-in Hybrids

Last year I read Plug-in Hybrids The Cars that Will Recharge America. It's a book by Sherry Boschert, a 30 year veteran of medical news reporting, electric car owner and author of the Well To Wheel Emissions summary I sighted in my Plug In Electric Cars post.

Plug-in Hybrids is an entertaining and educational read that tells the stories surrounding the advent and demise of the electric car in the 80s ad 90s and fills in a lot of interesting details that they didn't cover in Who Killed The Electric Car.

The beginning is a bit frustrating when you find out how a few companies colluded to eliminate working public transportation systems so they could sell more cars, tires, and oil. (That's not a conspiracy theory, the companies weren't very subtle about how they did it.)

Even so, the book is pretty uplifting and there's a number of inspiring stories about the people around the EV1. Moreover, the last part of the book describes how plug-in hybrids are the cars that will allow America to get away from the combustion engine without having to give up the perceived benefits of gas powered cars.

After reading this book and checking out its sources I was convinced that an electric car is for me. Given my driving patterns (which are apparently similar to 90% of Americans) a plug-in is more convenient (no trips to the gas station) and produces a significantly lower environmental impact.

When I read the book, there wasn't much talk about plug-ins, but over the last year efforts like Google's and guys like Bob Lutz getting behind plug-ins makes it look like there's a chance for plug-ins to be commercially available. How cool would it be if my next car was a plug-in and I never had to go to the gas station again!

I highly recommend this book and am thus giving it 4 out of 5 exploding balls of hydrogen.

PS - I'm planning to donate this book to the Massachuetts public library since they don't have a copy yet. If you'd like to borrow it first, let me know.