Navigating the new waters of high-tech electric cars and hybrids can be a daunting task. In fact, figuring out how a hybrid is different from an all-electric car is strange enough without throwing in the concept of a plug-in hybrid–a car that combines the two into one Frankenstein-like contraption.

It’s easy to put the differences between all of these next-generation vehicles down in writing, but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words–and in this case, a thousand moving pictures strung together in a short video is worth several articles.

As a production of Ford, the video contains strong references to Ford vehicles, but it does a good job of explaining the differences between the various types of electrified cars on the market, and the explanations are applicable to all manufacturers–from Chevy to Nissan to Toyota and everything above, below and in between.

What the video doesn’t spend much time talking about are some of the details that provide a complete picture of the electrified world. For instance, all-electric cars have differing driving ranges based on the sizes of their battery packs. In general, however, the first generation of consumer-oriented all-electric cars can go about 100 miles on a charge, but that range can be extended during the day if a car can plug in while parked.

While the video also deals with the concept of plug-in hybrid electric cars, it doesn’t shine a candle on the huge variety of them that are hitting the market in the next several years. As the first of these types of vehicles, the Chevy Volt can go around 35 miles on a full charge of its battery before switching to hybrid mode where it returns about 37 mpg running on gas. The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid–for sale in 2012–only has a 10-14 mile range on battery power before making the switch. And, although Ford hasn’t released specifications for the C-Max Energi–due in 2012–it likely won’t have as much of a battery range as the Volt.

So, if it pleases you, ignore the subtle sales pitch for Ford vehicles and settle in for two minutes and forty two seconds of electrified car enlightenment. If you imagine you’ll be in the market for a green car upgrade soon, it’s well worth the time.

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Nick Chambers is a "next generation" car enthusiast, recognized for his green automotive coverage in Gas 2.0, The New York Times, Popular Mechanics, and In addition, he's been syndicated in Matter Network, AP and Reuters.

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