Along with the growth in sales of all-electric vehicles around the world, sales of hybrid models continue to grow. However, testing of the new PHEV models unfortunately confirms that they pollute the environment far more than the automakers claim, even when starting with a full battery.
Three of the most popular plug-ins in 2020 emitted more CO2 than advertised in real-world testing. The tests were commissioned by Transport & Environment (T&E), which is urging governments to end purchase subsidies and generous tax breaks for PHEVs that are fueling yet another emissions scandal.
The results of a study of the BMW X5, Volvo XC60, and Mitsubishi Outlander revealed horrifying facts. These models:
- emitted 28-89% more CO2 than advertised when tested by Emissions Analytics on a fully charged battery in optimal conditions
- on an empty battery, they emitted 3 to 8 times more CO2 than advertised
- when driven in battery-charging mode, which could become more common as motorists charge up ahead of using electric mode in low-emissions zones, the PHEVs emitted 3 to 12 times more CO2
Source: Transport & Environment
Julia Poliscanova, senior director for clean vehicles at T&E, said:
“Plug-in hybrids are fake electric cars, built for lab tests and tax breaks, not real driving. Our tests show that even in optimal conditions, with a full battery, the cars pollute more than advertised. Unless you drive them softly, carbon emissions can go off the charts. Governments should stop subsidizing these cars with billions in taxpayers' money."
Once the battery is discharged, the tested hybrids can only drive 11-23 km (7-14 miles) in engine mode before they exceed their official CO2 emissions per km. This contradicts the misleading theory that the PHEVs sold today are suitable for long journeys. In fact, they need to be charged much more often than battery electric vehicles, which travel much further on a single charge, especially Tesla.
“Carmakers blame drivers for plug-in hybrids’ high emissions. But the truth is that most PHEVs are just not well made. They have weak electric motors, big, polluting engines, and usually can’t fast charge. The only way plug-ins are going to have a future is if we completely overhaul how we reward them in EU car CO2 tests and regulations. Otherwise, PHEVs will soon join diesel in the dustbin of history.”
Selling PHEVs gives automakers relief and additional credits. T&E said the EU should end this when it reviews the 2025 and 2030 targets next year.
© 2020, Eva Fox. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.