PLUG OK license plate
Books that Focus on or Discuss Plug-In Hybrids (PHEVs)
(most recent books first)

To order: find a local independent bookstore at Booksense or order/pre-order online. Then CalCars will get a small referral fee for your Amazon order -- at no additional cost to you. If you want to buy anything at Amazon, start by clicking on any book link and CalCars also receives a referral fee.

High Voltage: The Fast Track to Plug In the Auto Industry (Paperback)
Jim Motavalli

Rodale Books
ISBN-10: 160529263X
272 pages
November 8, 2011
$24.99 (List hardcover)
Review or comments to come soon
Once Upon a Car: The Fall and Resurrection of America's Big Three Auto Makers--GM, Ford, and Chrysler (Paperback)
Bill Vlasic

William Morrow
ISBN-10: 0061845620
400 pages
October 4, 2011
$26.99 (List Hardcover)
Reviews or comments to come soon
Car Guys vs. Bean Counters: The Battle for the Soul of American Business (Hardcover)
Bob Lutz

Portfolio Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1591844002
256 pages
June 9, 2011
$26.95 (List Hardcover)
Reviews or comments to come soon.
Bottled Lightning: Superbatteries, Electric Cars, and the New Lithium Economy (Hardcover)
Seth Fletcher

Hall and Wang
ISBN-10: 0809030535
272 pages
May 10, 2011
$26.00 (List Hardcover)
Reviews or comments to come soon.
World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse (Paperback)
Lester Brown

W. W. Norton and Company
ISBN-10: 0393339491
240 pages
January 6, 2011
$15.95 (List paperback)
We've been a fan of Brown for years (and he of CalCars: photos-people.html#LB). His "Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization" books, which went from versions 1-4, have now been succeeded by "World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse", a readable introduction to the intersecting problems of food and water supplies, climate and climate refugees, and fossil fuel dependence that lead to global security issues -- and the solutions, notably including plug-in hybrids and renewable energy. See more about him and a link to his recent Washington Post story at
Chevrolet Volt: Charging into the Future (Paperback)
Larry Edsall

ISBN-10: 0760338930
144 pages
December 24, 2010
$30.00 (List Hardcover)
Reviews or comments to come soon.
Jolt!: The Impending Dominance Of The Electric Car And Why America Must Take Charge (Hard cover)
James Billmaier

Advantage Media Group
ISBN-10: 159932220X
236 pages
October 1, 2010
$22.99 (List hardcover)
Reviews or comments to come soon.
Straight Up: America's Fiercest Climate Blogger Takes on the Status Quo Media, Politicians, and Clean Energy Solutions (Paperback)
Joseph Romm

Island Press
ISBN-10: 1597267163
248 pages
April 15, 2010
$21.95 (List paperback)
This physicist and former US Department of Energy official runs Climate Progress, often described as the most influential blog on climate change. There he writes frequently about transportation electrification, and this book includes almost 20 pages on the subject.
Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis (Paperback)
Al Gore

Rodale Books
ISBN-10: 1594867348
416 pages
November 3, 2009
$26.99 (List paperback)
If you felt "An Inconvenient Truth" lacked a focus on solutions beyond those for individual consumers, now you have a bonanza. It's almost encyclopedic, reflecting the advice of hundreds of experts and including effective illustrations and graphics. In the Super Grid chapter a section starting on page 286 focuses on the benefits of plug-in cars in providing energy storage solutions, concluding with a two-page graphic envisioning the future grid, with a PHEV plugged in to a house via a grid transmitter and smart meter. More at CalCars-News.
The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming (The Solutions Series) (Paperback)
Guy Dauncey

New Society Publishers
ISBN-10: 0865715890
320 pages
November 1, 2009
$24.95 (List paperback)
Finally, here's a book that combines thorough explanations for newcomers with innovative perspectives for experts and effective answers for people, industries and institutions. The Climate Challenge's imaginative format is up-to-date, comprehensive, and immensely handy. It's as if Whole Earth Catalog had been reborn 40 years later. Guy Dauncey pulls no punches and is deeply, urgently persuasive. Anyone who reads this will be moved to act. More at CalCars-News.
Power Trip: From Oil Wells to Solar Cells — Our Ride to the Renewable Future (Hardcover)
Amanda Little

ISBN-10: 0061353256
464 pages
October 13, 2009
$25.99 (List paperback)
Grist columnist tells the story of America's addiction to fossil fuels. Includes a chapter, "Autopia: Detroit Does the Electric Slide," telling the story of the auto industry's move toward plug-in vehicles; includes a sections on "Car Hackers" about CalCars, and ones on batteries, and Google and vehicle-to-grid futures.
Build Your Own Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle
Seth Leitman

McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics
ISBN-10: 0071614737
320 pages
June 22, 2009
$24.95 (List Hardcover)
Written by Seth Leitman, longtime green vehicle/sustainability expert and author of "Build Your Own Electric Vehicle," this 275-page book provides an overview of the technology and the issues in doing a conversion, and it works well as a different way in to the open source material that can be found at or the easier-to-remember .
Plug-in Electric Vehicles: What Role for Washington?
David Sandalow

Brookings Institution Press
ISBN-10: 0815703058
240 pages
April, 2009
$29.95 (List Hardcover)
At CalCars-News we called this "an indispensable new book on plug-ins," and said "it arrives just in time. Here's THE BOOK TO READ to get the current thinking about the benefits and opportunities for plug-ins -- and the policies to get there. Its editor is now the Energy Department's new Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Domestic Policy." This book reunites many presenters from a landmark event (see CalCars-News posting, Brookings/Google Conference Consolidates National Support for Plug-Ins).
Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers, and Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet
Edward Humes

ISBN-10: 006135029X
384 pages
March 3, 2009
$25.99 (List Hardcover)
About the remarkable visionaries who have quietly dedicated their lives and their fortunes to saving the planet from ecological destruction. Includes a profile of the inventor of the modern PHEV, Prof Andy Frank of UC Davis and Efficient Drivetrains, Inc.
The Gort Cloud: The Invisible Force Powering Today's Most Visible Green Brands
Richard Seireeni

Chelsea Green
ISBN-10: 1603580611
308 pages
February 17, 2009
$24.95 (List Hardcover)
By veteran brand consultant Richard Sereeni with screen and copy writer Scott Fields, maps out a network of experts, activists, tastemakers, special interests, consumers and others. "Driving Fast in the Green Lane" case study profiles CalCars and Tesla Motors as well as Hymotion and Southern California Edison. Website is at
V2G-101: A Text About Vehicle-To-Grid Technology
Leonard J. Beck

BookSurge Publishing
ISBN-10: 1439223874
344 pages
February 4, 2009
$30.00 (List Hardcover)
The first book exclusively focused on the integration of plug-in vehicle with the power generation industry-- which has never had a practical way to store energy it produces. It starts with cars plugging in to homes with smart meters for V2B (Vehicle to Building) and will evolve over time to V2G (Vehicle to Grid). The author is an employee of Delmarva Power & Light (the Washington, DC-area utility).
Why GM Matters: Inside the Race to Transform an American Icon
William Holstein

Walker & Company
ISBN-10: 0802717187
288 pages
February 3, 2009
$26.00 (List Hardcover)
This is a very-up-to-date book (it covers events in Detroit and Washington, DC through early 2009), by a veteran business writer. An entertaining 24-page chapter on the Chevy Volt profiles Volt team leaders Tony Posawatz, Frank Weber, Denise Gray, Jelani Aliyu, explaining how important the new car is to the company -- and why its photo is on the book's cover.
Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less: A Handbook for Slashing Gas Prices and Solving Our Energy Crisis
Newt Gingrich

Regnery Publishing
ISBN-10: 1596985763
185 pages
September 23, 2008`
$14.95 (Paperback)
By author and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, the book is not as single-minded as the title sounds. He favors everything: gas, oil, coal, wind, solar, biofuels and nuclear energy. In a two-page section called "Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Vehicles," he clearly recognizes the benefits of PHEVs. See CalCars-News for excerpt.
The Plan: How to Rescue Society the Day the Oil Stops--or the Day Before
Edwin Black

Dialog Press
ISBN-10: 0914153072
192 pages
September 22, 2008
$12.95 (Paperback)
Edwin Black's "The Plan: How to Rescue Society When the Oil Stops -- or the Day Before" is a slim 130-page volume by the independent journalist best known for "IBM and the Holocaust" (2002). He also wrote "Internal Combustion: How Corporations and Governments Addicted the World to Oil and Derailed the Alternatives" (2006). The new book focuses more on solutions, including conversions of internal combustion engine vehicles to multiple fuels ranging from CNG to hydrogen, with long sections on electric vehicles and PHEVs. See book's website and CalCars-News review.
The Clean Tech Revolution: The Next Big Growth and Investment Opportunity
Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder

ISBN-10: 006089623X
320 pages
September 16, 2008 (Revised and updated from 2007 edition)
$26.95 (List Hardcover)
Clean Edge writers say PHEVs may be "The Next Big Thing;" CalCars included in Ten To Watch. For more of our thoughts, see our June 17, 2007 posting in CalCars news.
Strategies for the Green Economy: Opportunities and Challenges in the New World of Business
Joel Makower

ISBN-10: 0071600302
312 pages
September 10, 2008
$27.95 (List Hardcover)
Author Joel Makower, longtime cleantech author and consultant whose blog, Two Steps Forward, has increasingly featured plug-ins. Makower can be counted on to give full play to multiple points of view on controversies about corporate greenwashing or carbon offset providers. This new book has a chapter, "Changing the Conversation at GM," that in four pages describes the company's journey from its "Live Green, Go Yellow" promotion of corn ethanol to the Chevy Volt. See CalCars-News for links.
Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America
Thomas L. Friedman

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN-10: 0374166854
448 pages
September 8, 2008
$27.95 (List Hardcover)
See our news posting, T. Friedman's New Bestseller Hot, Flat & Crowded Touts Plug-Ins about the new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, often described as the world's most influential journalist. Friedman says we've gone from the "Cold War Era" to the "Energy-Climate Era." The book says, "But to get the most efficiency gains and to make the Energy Internet-smart grid complete requires that one more big piece of the puzzle be put into place — electrifying transportation, and moving as many cars, trucks, buses and trains away from exclusively combustion engines and into plug-in electric hybrids or plug-in all-electric cars." And see CalCars-News for more about the book.
Coming Clean: Breaking America's Addiction to Oil and Coal
Michael Brune

Sierra Club/Counterpoint
ISBN-10: 1578051495
272 pages
September 1, 2008
$14.95 (List Hardcover)
Michael Brune, the executive director of Rainforest Action Network is the author of "Coming Clean: Breaking America's Addiction to Oil and Coal". It includes more than 10 pages solely on plug-in cars, and references throughout the book. The book profiles and quotes UC Davis Prof. Andy Frank, plug-in advocate Chelsea Sexton, former CIA Director James Woolsey, CalCars' Felix Kramer, A123Systems' David Vieau and Tesla Motors' JB Straubel and Elon Musk.
Clean Car Wars: How Honda and Toyota are Winning the Battle of the Eco-Friendly Autos
Yozo Hasegawa

ISBN-10: 0470823291
200 pages
May 16, 2008
$24.95 (List Hardcover)
By author and long-time business journalist Yozo Hasegawa, is a translation by Tony Kimm of a Japanese book that ably tells the story of the development of hybrid cars in the past ten years. Buy it for that, not for its reporting on plug-in cars. Completed in November 2007, it simply adds a hasty two pages about the Chevy Volt and the Ford-Southern California Edison partnership on PHEV development at the end of a chapter on "Other Green Alternatives."
Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (Hardcover)
Jeffrey Sachs

The Penguin Press
ISBN-10: 1594201277
400 pages
March 18, 2008
$27.95 (List Hardcover)
The latest book by the prominent economist and director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University, who focuses on the intersection of global economic development and environmental sustainability — especially in the relationship of rich and poor nations. He's become a major proponent of plug-in hybrids and a critic of the unintended consequences of biofuels. See our brief excerpt in the CalCars-News archives (May 2008) and "How to End the Global Food Shortage" in Time Magazine, April 2008.
Earth: The Sequel: The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming
Fred Krupp and Miriam Horn

W. W. Norton
256 pages
ISBN-10: 0393066908
March, 2008
$24.95 (List Hardcover)
Environmental Defense Fund President Krupp and EFF staffer Horn report on many promising innovations and solutions to global warming. On pages 216-223, in the race to develop and use low-carbon energy are trailblazers including Tesla, Think, Chevy Volt, Zap-X, along with brief discussions of battery technologies and the potential of vehicle to grid. See our brief review from the CalCars-News archives (May 2008).
Freedom From Oil: How the Next President Can End the United States' Oil Addiction
David Sandalow

McGraw Hill
ISBN-10: 0071489061
272 pages
October 1, 2007
$26.95 (List Hardcover)
David Sandalow is an Energy and Environment Scholar at the Brookings Institution. He has served as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment & Science; Senior Director for Environmental Affairs, National Security Council; and Associate Director for the Global Environment, White House Council on Environmental Quality.

"What could be better than this complete and practical roadmap for the next President on plug-in hybrids and everything else we need to achieve Freedom from Oil?" (Oct 07 posting)
Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy
Rep. Jay Inslee and Bracken Hendricks

Island Press
ISBN-10: 1597261750
336 Pages
October 1, 2007
$25.95 (List Hardcover)
Congressman Jay Inslee represents the First District of the State of Washington, in the Seattle area. He is a recognized leader in Congress on energy issues and is the prime sponsor of the New Apollo Energy Act and is a member of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Bracken Hendricks is a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress and former executive director of the Apollo Alliance, an organization of environmental organizations, businesses, and labor organizations.

"Apollo's Fire's real life stories and optimistic strategies can unify our nation through innovation and public investment to reach prosperity in a sustainable world." (Oct 07 posting)
Winning Our Energy Independence
S. David Freeman

Gibbs Smith
ISBN-10: 1423601564
240 pages
October 1, 2007
$19.95 (List Paperback)
S. David Freeman, the energy guru known as the "Green Cowboy," shows how we have the renewable energy we need to wean ourselves from the Three Poisons: foreign oil, dirty coal and dangerous nuclear power. He calls for replacing today's cars with plug-in hybrid vehicles. Helped create US Environmental Protection Agency, former board chair of Tennesse Valley Authority Board, head of NY Power Authority, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

"David Freeman's Winning our Energy Indepence brings four decades of experience to a fearless direct call to abandon the "three poisons of coal, nuclear and oil," and an inspiring vision of how to replace them with renewable energy sources powering plug-in cars." (Oct 07 posting)
ZOOM: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future
Vijay Vaitheeswaran and Iain Carson

ISBN-10: 044658004X
October 1, 2007
$27.99 (List Hardcover)
Vijay Vaitheeswaran, an MIT-trained engineer and global energy and environment correspondent for The Economist, wrote a comprehensive article on PHEVs for the magazine in June of 2006. For our initial coverage of the story and its significance — including excerpts and a downloadable pdf — see our June 12th newsletter.

"ZOOM's very readable narrative takes the reader from an analysis of why the petroleum age is ending to a picture of all the entrepreneurs, environmentalists and engineers who are bringing future cars to market now -- spurred in part by an unprecedented grassroots movement for plug-in hybrids." (Oct 07 posting)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hybrid and Alternative Fuel Vehicles (Complete Idiot's Guide to)
Jack R. Nerad

ISBN-10: 1592576354
224 Pages
August 7, 2007
$14.95 (List Paperback)
This comprehensive introduction to the whole range of alternative-fuel vehicles includes two pages and a scattering of other mentions of PHEVs.
Future Energy: How the New Oil Industry Will Change People, Politics and Portfolios
Bill Paul

ISBN-10: 047009642X
240 pages
February 9, 2007
$24.95 (List Hardcover)
Former Wall Street Journal reporter includes CalCars among 100 Companies to Watch. For more of our thoughts, see our February 2, 2007 posting in CalCars news.
Hell and High Water: Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do
Joseph Romm

William Morrow
ISBN-10: 0061172138
304 pages
January 8, 2008
$13.95 (List Paperback)
Founder of the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, calls PHEVs the Car of the Future. For more of our thoughts, see our December 30, 2006 posting in CalCars news.
Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars That Will Recharge America
Sherry Boschert

New Society Publishers
ISBN-10: 0865715718
240 pages
December 1, 2006
$16.95 (List Paperback)
The first book on PHEVs tells the story of the people and the technology. Full review at our October 30, 2007 posting in CalCars news. (Available in bookstores/online—or directly from author Sherry Boschert or from Plug In America.)
War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World
Frank J. Gaffney Jr.

Naval Institute Press
320 pages
ISBN-10: 1591143012
November 24, 2005
$27.95 (List Hardcover)
The founder of the Center for Security Policy promotes PHEVs to improve energy security. For our review, see our December 8, 2005 posting in CalCars news.

We also recommend the following books (and explain their connection to CalCars and PHEVs):
Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility
Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus

Houghton Mifflin
ISBN-10: 0618658254
256 pages
October 4, 2007
$25.00 (List Hardcover)
By the founders of American Environics and The Breakthrough Institute, this book draws on themes invoked by such thought leaders as architect/designer William McDonough, journalist Thomas Friedman and venture capitalist John Doerr about inspiring human creativity and finding hope in human aspirations and nature's abundance -- and points us to a strategic vision for the next decades. -- see our Oct.23 posting in CalCars-News.
Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
William McDonough and Michael Braungart

North Point Press
193 pages
ISBN-10: 0865475873
April, 2002
$27.50 (List Paperback)
Architect/designer McDonough and chemist Braungart rethink the idea of product lifecycles. (CalCars worked with McDonough to try to get Ford into PHEVs in 2006.)
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Michael Pollan

464 pages
ISBN-10: 0143038583
August, 2007
$16.00 (List Paperback)
In addition to being entertaining and eye-opening about food, the first major section of the book looks at the broad role of corn and how industrial agriculture has ruined the farm economy. (The book ably outlines the negative consequences of corn ethanol.)
Winning the Oil Endgame: Innovation for Profits, Jobs and Security
Amory Lovins, et al.

Rocky Mountain Institute
309 pages
ISBN-10: 1881071103
September 2004
$40.00 (List Paperback)
Rocky Mountain Institute's roadmap to a zero-petroleum economy. Many details on transportation, though the book was written when PHEVs were barely on RMI's radar. (Amory Lovins' previous book, Natural Capitalism, with its chapter on Hypercars, inspired the creation of CalCars.)
Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century
Alex Steffen

"Harry N. Abrams, Inc."
320 pages
ISBN-10: 0810930951
November, 2006
$37.50 (List Hardcover)
A broad guide from ( hosts GreenCarCongress's The Week in Sustainable Mobility.)

Check out past CalCars news, or subscribe to our low-traffic PHEV newsletter at right:  
Copyright © 2003-2012 California Cars Initiative | Site Map