According to an analysis conducted by the National Research Council , the roll-out of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) to the U.S. market will be too slow to have any real effect on our greenhouse gas emissions or oil addiction until at least the 2030s.
the added cost of manufacturing a PHEV over a conventional vehicle in 2010 will range from a $6,300 premium for a 10 mile all-electric range (PHEV-10) to an $18,000 premium for a 40 mile all-electric range (PHEV-40).
If gasoline prices stay below $4.00 per gallon, the analysis indicates that PHEV-40s won’t be cost-competitive before 2040 while PHEV-10s may reach cost competitiveness by 2030.
Of course, the report points out that all of their conclusions are in lieu of some kind of unexpected battery technology development or some kind of unexpected market pressure. In the end, the report concludes that PHEVs will have very little effect on consumption of oil before 2030 because there will be too few of them in the national fleet—even at the report’s best case growth scenario of 40 million PHEVs on the road by then.
This analysis would seem to be in agreement with the strategic assumptions of General Motors. Vice Chairman for Global Product Development, Bob Lutz, remarked at the recent LA Auto Show that without increasing the gas tax to intentionally raise fuel prices, there will be no pressure on the consumer to buy plug-in vehicles. In the past Lutz has asserted that pure petroleum-fueled vehicles will be by far the greatest part of GM's business into the foreseeable future. Nissan on the other hand seems to be drawing the opposite conclusion by diving so heavily into EV production.