Plug-In Hybrids
Credit: Courtesy Cadillac

The Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf were the first electric cars on the market, and their competing approaches pitted the Leaf's pure electric power against the Volt's mash-up of batteries and a range-extending gas engine. The Volt formula seems to be winning. Similar plug-in hybrids are on the way from Ford, Honda, Cadillac, and Porsche. As charging times come down and range goes up, pure electrics will make sense for more people. But humans aren't always motivated by rationality. Perhaps you never drive more than 100 miles in a day, but what if you wanted to pick up and go visit Alaska? A plug-in hybrid would get you there, and an electric wouldn't. Plug-ins are our psychological bridge, a way to embrace the brave electric future while keeping one foot in the gas-soaked past.