More problems for plug-in hybrids: new studies cut down their consumption data

More problems for plug-in hybrids: new studies cut down their consumption data

With some frequency we have updated you here on the evidence piling up against the supposed sustainability of plug-in hybrid models. Ideal on paper for a period of transition – to electric mobility – like the one we live in, the truth is that numerous studies dictate that motorists rarely use them properly, completely wasting their potential.

On the other hand, it gives the impression that it is a technology that is starting to park with many manufacturers. Maybe not now, but in the not too distant future considering they continue to market this type of vehicle but no longer invest in future developments.

In this regard, it is very remarkable that a brand with such a high profile as Mercedes-Benz has made progress in this area in a way that no one else has theoretical electric autonomies close to 100 kilometershas already announced that it will stop producing plug-in hybrids from this year in order to only bring purely electric models to the market in 2030.

Well, the hundredth shovelful of dirt thrown at these models comes from the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems Research and Innovation, which worked in partnership with the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) – the body that gained notoriety in 2015 through the unveiling of dieselgate—, has championed a project that has analyzed data on the actual usage of around 9,000 plug-in hybrids – known in English as PHEVs – from across Europe.

The study comes to the conclusion that the average fuel consumption of the plug-in is significantly higher than that of the official test cycles and has even increased recently. Researchers have found that the fuel consumption of PHEVs for private customers is three times higher than the factory specification, and for company cars even five times – more – shoots up.

It is the professional fleets that could get the most out of this technology, but reality says they are the ones doing the least. The study shows that the companies’ plug-in cars consumed between seven and nine liters per 100 kilometers on average, while the homologation cycles give them records of between one and two liters per 100 kilometers.

The report, which considered both direct information and databases from different platforms, shows that plug-in hybrid drivers, on average, cover less than half of their usual distances in electric mode.

For private individuals, the percentage is between 45% and 49%, but the situation is very different – ​​and very worrying – for company cars, where the average is between 11% and 15%. The study explains this difference by saying that when it comes to fuel, the companies usually take care of refueling, which is not yet the case with electric charging and has to be paid for by the users themselves.

The other reason PHEVs don’t fully cover the daily commute in electric mode is that their drivers don’t charge them enough from the grid or just don’t bother to plug them in.

Subordinate help for a good cause

The work of the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems Research and Innovation and the ICCT points out that “the difference between the official information and the actual empirical values ​​for plug-in hybrid vehicles is significantly larger than for vehicles with conventional combustion engines. . . The bottom line is that hybrid cars use more fuel than a cheap diesel.” Demolition Man.

Both companies advise governments to maintain incentives to buy PHEV models but subject them to the correct use of their technology. They propose, for example, that the aid be conditioned in such a way that company cars, which are easier to control than private cars, achieve a certain level of efficiency, which the ICCT puts at two liters per 100 kilometers on average.

However, a handful of governments and a host of local and regional businesses across Europe are uninterested in continuing to support plug-in hybrids. Without going any further, the German executive considers that the proposal by the Fraunhofer Institute and the ICCT entails enormous complexity and is preparing to end the aid on January 1, 2023.


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