AutoNation Inc., the nation's largest auto dealer network, will begin taking “soft orders” for plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEVs).

It's in conjunction with Plug-In Partners, a PHEV advocacy group. Soft orders are described as “a commitment from an individual, business or unit of government to purchase a PHEV once they become commercially available.”

Like traditional hybrids, PHEVs would recharge their batteries through onboard generators and friction energy that's recovered from braking.

A PHEV added benefit is batteries that can be recharged by plugging them into a 120-volt household power outlet, greatly expanding the vehicle's range in electric-only mode and saving additional fuel.

The development of plug-in hybrids could reduce America's addiction to oil, says AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson.

“These new hybrids would offer consumers a 50-mile all-electric range, get the equivalent of 100 mpg, can be fully recharged at night and deliver all the performance and comfort of traditional gasoline-powered vehicles without the damaging emissions, he says. “We believe Americans will buy these vehicles, which is why we want to sell them.”