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What is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) ?

A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is like a conventional hybrid, but with two important differences: larger battery capacity, and the ability to plug in to the electrical grid to recharge the batteries instead of being dependent on gasoline.

Instead of a battery with a capacity of less than 2 kWh of power like the gasoline-dependent Toyota Prius hybrid (which allows perhaps a mile or two of electric driving), the plug-in Prius slated to go on sale in late 2011 will have a larger battery enabling approximately 13 miles of electric driving. The Chevy Volt has 16 kWh of battery capacity on board, 8 kWh of which is available at any one time, enabling the car to drive like a fully electric vehicle for up to 40 miles before the gas engine turns on.