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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Driving Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles: Reports from U.S. Drivers of HEVs converted to PHEVs, circa 2006-07


This report examines early users’ experiences with plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). At the time this study was conducted in winter and spring of 2007, PHEVs were not yet commercialized. Still, Americans were becoming aware of PHEVs and 25 to 30 vehicles converted from hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) to PHEVs were on the road. In interviews with 23 drivers of these vehicles we explored how they used and recharged their vehicles. We also discussed their recommendations for future PHEV designs, and investigated how they think about PHEVs, including the benefits and drawbacks they perceive. While today’s PHEV drivers may not represent either mainstream American car buyers now or future buyers of PHEVs, their behavior and viewpoints offer clues about how PHEVs will be received and used by other consumers and may shape both the PHEV technologies offered in the future and the reasons why future consumers value PHEVs.

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