Alternatives to petroleum-based fuels for transportation are sought to address concerns over climate change and energy security. Key semiconductor, software, and battery technologies have sufficiently progressed over the past few decades to enable a mass-market-viable plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) alternative. In this paper, the various PEV architectures are described, including market availability, technologies and trends, practical ranges, battery replacement and power costs, implications for grid operations, and other developments. Manufacturers’ recently announced prices and EPA standardized test data are used (where available) to increase the accuracy of cost comparisons for competing vehicles. Results indicate that in relatively low fuel-cost regions, like the U.S., PEVs enjoy a positive discounted net present value, thanks to tax credits and assuming that the original battery does not need replacement by the owner. Even without the tax credits, PEVs offer financial payback for those residing in higher fuel-cost regions, as long as their batteries last the vehicle’s lifetime or are replaced by manufacturers (under warranty).


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