Some will tell you that plug-in
hybrids are the answer to the twin problems of global climate change and our reliance on foreign sources of oil. Since plug-ins can operate for substantial distances without the use of gasoline, they turn in phenomenal miles-per-gallon figures and when operating in electric mode they produce no carbon dioxide emissions and virtually no other emissions, for that matter. Despite this, no major vehicle manufacturer has yet brought a plug-in
hybrid to market, though some - notably General Motors and
Toyota - have announced plans to do so in the relatively near future. Recently we sat down with Toyota hybrid expert Jaycie Chitwood to get a better understanding of the real benefits plug-ins will bring, what the technical challenges are in building and owning plug-ins and, importantly, what they will cost.