For anyone who grew up watching The Jetsons (or Back to the Future, depending on your generation), the "Car of the Future!" flew through the skies with the greatest of ease. While flying cars are still very much a futuristic concept, anything beyond the internal combustion engine has seemed hopelessly out of reach until recently. With the introduction of more and more hybrid, plug-in, and all-electric vehicles, the Car of the Future is here now!  And this week being National Drive Electric Week, what better time to shine the spotlight on these cars?

But before you put down a deposit, it's helpful to understand the different types of electric drive technologies. The most basic form of electric drive is found in hybrid electric vehicles, which are familiar to most people. Hybrid electric vehicles do not need to be plugged in at all. Instead, they obtain their electric power by capturing the energy from braking and storing it in a battery pack. This reserve energy allows cars to drive on all electric for some of the time, but gives the vehicle a boost while allowing the internal combustion engine take charge when extra power is needed.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) take the idea of the hybrid and greatly extend the all-electric driving period. Once a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle has recharged its batteries using an electric charger, it can drive much further on all-electric power than a hybrid vehicle. However, when its battery is drained, the vehicle's internal combustion engine kicks in and runs on other fuels, mainly gasoline. 

All-electric vehicles do not have internal combustion engines at all. Instead, they completely rely on their batteries for their power. As a result, they release no emissions from their tailpipe. However, charging up an electric vehicle may produce some greenhouse gas emissions if it is not powered by renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar power, which really brings the vehicle's green credentials to the next level.

The federal government is carrying out a number of ambitious projects to encourage the development and adoption of electric drive vehicles, such as working to add vastly more electric chargers throughout the country, both along major highways and in rural areas. And through the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, the federal government offers incentives for electric vehicle purchases.  

To compare the many models of hybrids and electric vehicles available on the market now, check out If you want to reduce your environmental footprint and petroleum use, electric drive vehicles are a great bet. Whether you wish to purchase a hybrid or an all-electric vehicle, you'll truly be driving the next generation of vehicles, today!