It can be tough figuring out whether this darn hybrid phenomenon is real.
You need to discount the promotional hype from Toyota, Honda and Ford, which already sell gasoline-electric hybrids. You also need to work your way around the pooh-poohing from the hybrid wannabes.
Even studies by reputable research firms disagree about whether hybrids eventually will account for only 3 percent of the market or grab more than 10 percent.
Nor is it much help to read or listen to the national media. Most of their reporters don't understand hybrids, but that doesn't stop them from being hopelessly enamored of what they consider the wonder widget du jour.
And they blather on about it. One reporter even wanted to know if the second quarter loss and ongoing financial struggles at General Motors were because Toyota has hybrids, while GM doesn't.
Well, you can put all that aside.
Hybrids are for real, and here's how I know: SAE is marketing a collection of books and papers it calls "Hybrid Vehicle Resources."
OK, it's not a huge collection. There are four books and a technical paper, and only one of the books is new. Some of the titles sound like bedside reading only an engineer -- and a real devoted one at that -- could love. Some examples:
They're not likely to be on any list of best sellers. But it is a growing body of work.
Of special note is that a brochure mailed by the engineering society is also offering three related special publications, including one about fuel cells.
Before you know it, we'll need to figure out this darn fuel-cell phenomenon.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at