Almost three-quarters of new electric cars sold are fully electric. But in some countries – most in Europe – plug-in hybrids still lead the way.
Given your willingness to stick to the facts I would have hoped that you would be be supportive of plugin hybrids.
Given the current high cost and energy intensity of batteries, it is important that they are used efficiently. Unfortunately this is not the case with most full EVs. The batteries typically have a range many times greater than the daily commute. It is a bit like having a smartphone with a massive 8 day battery. Full EVs make sense in towns and cities in commercial vehicles, where batteries are used efficiently on a daily basis and charging is readily available. In other situations they are suboptimal.
Toyota have done a useful analysis showing how using scarce batteries more efficiently in hybrids and plug-in hybrids is a far more effective way of reducing emissions that switching to full electric.
A crucial advantage of plug-in hybrids is that they can be charged off a regular plug and there is no need to install a high speed charging network. This means they can be used in any part of any country.
Since this is “sustainability by numbers,” it’s important to look at the vehicle miles traveled, not just ownership numbers. The typical household uses their car 30 miles/day. As a result, it is far more sustainable to have a plug-in hybrid vehicle for one’s everyday driving, as these vehicles can be charged at home with a 110-outlet (thus reducing demand from the grid) and use far fewer rare earth minerals in their smaller (but still powerful and sufficient) batteries. PHEVs are a key enabler of the democratization of electric vehicle ownership and are purpose-built for everyday needs. This article needs to be edited to consider the real world uses of the PHEVs and BEVs.
Good discovery about Europe, but the real question is why? Is it primarily a tax play as another commenter mentioned? Or cost and availability of pure EVs? Or perhaps limited charging options, misunderstanding of benefits of a pure EV, etc? Some sort of survey or poll of hybrid owners would be really helpful I think.
Plug-in hybrids absolutely should be included. Based on lifecycle emission's analysis, they are often as "green" as BEVs.
I recommend checking out the comparative tool at https://www.carboncounter.com/#!/explore . In general, BEVS have the lowest lifecycle emissions followed by Plug-in Hybrids, Hybrids and then ICE vehicles. We should be encouraging everyone to find the car with the lowest emissions that meets their needs. I drive a Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid and put over 2100 miles on my last tank of gas.
If you want to learn even more about the tradeoffs, I recommend analysis and reports by the folks at Argonne National Laboratory, e.g. https://greet.es.anl.gov/publication-c2g_lca_us_ldv and a shorter, more consumable report at https://www.hydrogen.energy.gov/pdfs/21003-life-cycle-ghg-emissions-small-suvs.pdf .
Very misleading---paragraph 3 of "What is a plug-in hybrid" You need to say "What is the electric range of a plug-in hybrid vs. an all electric car?" You make it sound like a plug-in hybrid has very little range. "Range anxiety" is a big problem with all electric! A plug in hybrid has a lot of range---way more than the comparable all-electric. 40-50 miles (all electric) will get most people around all day. And if you go on a longer trip or cannot recharge overnite you have the IC engine backing you up---extending your range a significant amount! And if you need to refuel it is way more convenient and way faster than hunting for a charger---just zip in and "fill-er-up"!
My parents are about to drop down to being a one car household for the first time in decades - if it takes a plug in hybrid rather than BEV to get them to do that, then I’m all for it (they just got solar panels so are excited about driving for free)
It is also important to note that people don’t buy cars forever. They change in ten years or so. The following article discusses why hybrid vehicles are better than electric vehicles (EVs) for the environment and the cost in India. It cites a research paper from IIT Kanpur that compares the emissions and the total cost of ownership of EVs, hybrids, and petrol cars over a 10-year period. The paper finds that hybrids have lower emissions and lower cost than EVs, especially if they get similar subsidies from the government.
I wonder how much of the discrepancy is on the supply side? I know that in Canada is it vey difficult to get your hands on a PHEV. And I suspect those buyers are then reverting to regular hybrids and ICE vehicles rather than EVs.
Plug in hybrids are just a tax dodge. Many people don’t actually get the charge cable out of the box.
Great stuff, Hannah! I linked it here:
Keep up the good work 💚 🥃
I wonder if there are any stats on how many of each of those are the users only car vs have more than one, and what type the other vehicles are?
Theory: if you only have one car, it’s more likely to be a PHEV, if you have an IC other vehicle, it’s more likely to be a BEV.
Hannah, I'd love to get your view on whether it would be more useful to group together all vehicles that have a fuel tank, engine, transmission, etc. (which includes conventional ICE, hybrid ICE, and plug-in ICE) to compare against vehicles that do not have these components in them. I understand the argument that plug-in hybrids are currently a good option for many people, but to me it seems like the important statistic to capture is how many vehicles need to burn fuel to function versus how many do not. I owned a plug-in hybrid (a Volt) and a BEV (an e-Golf), and at least for me, the ownership and driving experience of the plug-in hybrid was very similar to all of the fuel-burning cars I've ever owned. BEV is a different experience. There are also many public policy considerations raised when you're no longer buying fuel for transportation. My personal view is that lumping together plug-in hybrids with BEVs is NOT that useful for any sort of analysis that I've been interested in. But again, I'm curious to know if you see any value in that grouping versus grouping together vehicles based on whether they require fuel or not.
There are many incidents of battery burst or sudden fire after extreme heat, where vehicle or passenger cannot escape such fire.
I don’t know how scientifically true, however, climate conditions factor needs to be considered.
Hybrid battery new or replacement price play major role in international market and political uncertainty also influences where imports of Lithium-ion (Li-ion), Nickel Manganese cobalt (NMC), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Sulphur (Li-S), and Lead-Acid are critical.