The push for electrification has put a number of OEMs in a weakened position as they lack true EV tech. To make up for it, they’re trying to sell plug-in hybrids
Like most of you, I get tons of emails, mostly spam, from business and industry-related marketing companies, random associations and the likes. Only once in a blue moon do I actually get something worth reading. This time, it was a link to a research done by IDTechEx Research entitled: Plug-in Hybrids: More Models but No Future.
This caught my immediate attention as I’ve never liked the idea of a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), never really cared for any of the ones I’ve driven and reviewed with one possible exception; in short, I’ve always thought they were “smoke in mirrors” and nothing more than a cash-grab by car companies.
In fact, I’ve considered them a waste of precious metals, oil and money for a few years. The title to this email, then, intrigued me as I’ve thought of PHEVs as having no present. I first dug (aka Googled) up stuff on the IDTechEx Research only to find out that they are based in the UK and seem legit.
The report itself contains over 240 pages of detailed information comparing EV strategies from the majority of car companies and digs very deep into the future of batteries, supercapacitors, motors, power electronics and energy harvesting. It also evaluates all other forms of transportation but I focused my attention is the summary which pertains to plug-in hybrids.
Admittedly, I did not read the report given the $12,500 asking price but the fact that part of the conclusion touches on PHEVs is enough for me to elaborate on my opinion.
As most PHEVs offer a full-electric range between 25 and 75 km, their daily-usability goes from nil to limited. In order to take advantage of this range, the vehicle must be plugged in at every opportunity, unlike an EV with a current minimum of 200 km. When the battery is depleted, after 50 km, for example, your gasoline engine takes over and not only must it provide forward motion for the vehicle, it must carry hundreds of kilograms of batteries, negatively affecting fuel consumption, until the next charge. Whatever brief advantage you may get from your EV range, it is quickly be negated in real-world usage.
Knowing full-well that fully electric vehicles will be a huge part of the automotive fleet in the very near future, and as ranges continue to climb ever closer to conventional petrol-powered cars, PHEVs will quickly find their worth suffer tremendously. No longer will they provide any advantage – in fact, the encumbrance of both sources of energy with involved maintenance and need to plug in will constitute nothing more than burden and compromise.
In my mind, PHEVs will soon suffer a huge decline in sales, demand and as a result, resale value. With this in mind, I would strongly suggest leasing a PHEV, if you are considering one, as in four or five years from now, they may very well become worthless. If, once again, you are in the market for a new “green” car, I would recommend you hold on to your current ride for another year or two. Numerous carmakers have huge EV plans starting in about a year for the 2021 and 2022 model years.