Welcome to the new age of Greener vehicles.
Time was, electric vehicles were promoted as the zero emissions saviours of the future, but the distance they could travel before recharging, and long recharge times led searchers to the hybrid vehicle, combining the advantages of a quiet, zero-emissions electric motor, with the range extending and battery charging capability of a small engine. This seemed to promise a solution, but effective mpg gains weren’t much better than a efficient diesel, batteries were expensive and emissions were still dirty.
Enter the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), a hybrid engine-electric, with the ability to plug in for recharging, cleaner point of use for electric only short trips, and long range capability. Combined with a efficient diesel, and clean burning biodiesel or vegetable oil, this could be the solution the automotive industry has been looking for. For more info, see the following sites:
Alternative Fuel Cars: Plug-In Hybrids and Electric Cars
Hybrids? Some opt to go all-electric
Plug-In Hybrids: State Of Play, History & Players
Plug-In Hybrid Electric Light-Duty Vehicle Research Project (PDF)