Special thanks to former Dollar Thrifty fleet executive John Maus for sending a letter to the editor, and expressing his views on some of the challenges and opportunities faced by electric vehicles and hybrids...
You and most other writers refer to plug in electric cars "you get the zero emissions while its running on battery only," but in reality electricity isn't an energy source, only a conduit of energy, and about half of all this energy is generated by polluting coal and it is certainly not emissions free. Sure, more renewable energy sources are coming on line all the time, but they may never become much of a factor for several more years. If there is a plus side to coal, it is a home grown energy source, but plug-ins will be taxing the already overloaded grid in years to come. I'm not saying it is all bad to get away from gas/diesel, but I suspect the zero emission terminology will start to get challenged more in the near future and consumers may feel duped after the facts are known.
Secondly, I like hybrids because they do generate electricity from kinetic braking action, and I'm wondering if the 100% plug-in units do the same? In fact, do all hybrids take advantage of this truly wasted energy? Now I'm wondering why the manufactuers haven't figured out how to do the same with the basic gas powerplant. Come to think of it, there has been flywheel technology studied in the past, but the extra weight might not exceed the benefit.
John Maus (retired Dollar Thrifty fleet exec)