We were recently given the opportunity to kick the tires of a wide variety of hybrid electric and alternative fuel vehicles.
There were a few clean diesels, including a CR-V with a 2.2-liter four cylinder that we should see reach production in a diesel variant of the 2010 Acura TSX. Ford brought out its hydrogen fuel cell, Focus, and a pair of hybrids, one of which was a plug-in model.
According to Ed Kjaer, a representative from Southern California Edison, plugging in electric hybrid vehicles on an overnight cycle is better for the electric grid, because it evens out the grid usage over a 24-hour cycle, resulting in less switching on and off of power plants and cheaper electricity across the board as a result. He also stated that there's so much surplus electricity across the United States that we could theoretically swap 73 percent of all light-duty vehicles on the road with plug-in models, without a single upgrade to the system. For those doing the math, that's 160 million vehicles. We hope Kjaer's right, because it looks like regardless of what the primary fuel of choice may be, plug-in hybrid systems will probably be used on many of the future's vehicles to boost efficiency.
Jana Hartline, environmental communications manager for Toyota, was on hand to talk about Toyota's plans for sustainability. Along with the plug-in Prius, which was available to drive, she also shared Toyota's plans for a standalone small EV model and a compressed natural gas-powered Camry, set to debut at the 2008 L.A. Auto Show.
While we were there, we picked up the new Dodge Durango Hybrid, so look for a review coming soon! In the meanwhile, check out the photos from the event.