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A number of strategies for the power management of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are proposed in the literature. A key challenge is to achieve near-optimality while keeping the methodology simple. The Pontryagin's minimum principle (PMP) is suggested as a viable real-time strategy. In this brief, the global optimality of the principle under reasonable assumptions is described from a mathematical viewpoint. Instantaneous optimal control with an appropriate equivalent parameter for battery usage is shown to be possibly a global optimal solution under the assumption that the internal resistance and open-circuit voltage of a battery are independent of the state-of-charge (SOC). This brief also demonstrates that the optimality of the equivalent consumption minimization strategy (ECMS) results from the close relation of ECMS to the optimal-control-theoretic concept of PMP. In static simulation for a power-split hybrid vehicle, the fuel economy of the vehicle using the control algorithm proposed in this brief is found to be very close-typically within 1%-to the fuel economy through global optimal control that is based on dynamic programming (DP).