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Techsplanations: Extended-Range Electric Vehicles

These vehicles offer electric operation with the convenience of a traditional gasoline-powered car

If you’re tired of shelling out cash at the gas pump, but aren’t ready to go all-electric, there’s an alternative that might be right for you. Extended-range vehicles can travel significant distances on an electric charge, but have a backup gas engine or generator to take you further when needed.

Let’s face it, electric cars don’t make sense for everyone. Maybe you need to travel long distances on a regular basis or perhaps your area doesn’t yet feature an abundance of charging stations. While consumers can expect to see battery range, recharge times and charging infrastructure improve over the coming years, an extended-range vehicle might be a better choice for some green-conscious drivers in the meantime.

Many conventional hybrids boast their ability to run in “EV mode” at low speeds, for very short distances. Extended-range vehicles, however, can go much further and faster under all-electric operation than a traditional hybrid. The plug-in electric Chevy Volt, for instance, can go about 38 miles on a battery charge, whereas the plug-in hybrid Ford Fusion Energi can travel about 20 miles without engaging the gas engine.
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