As the corporate rush to embrace electric cars accelerates, other basic requirements for success, such as ever falling battery costs, are being reversed. This is persuading many to reconsider their decision to dump internal combustion engines (ICE) and instead embrace half-way house technology, like plug-in hybrids.
The perfect compromise in the quest to a fully-electric world is the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEVs), which can provide many miles on electric and eliminate the dreaded battery range anxiety. However, politicians and special interest groups are threatening to make a mess of the good and destroy all that is good. Hybrids rely heavily on ICE power so they must be eradicated.
Nick Molden, chief executive at Emissions Analytics in Britain, stated that with average grid power, batteries can reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by around 50% while hybrids cut them by approximately 30%.
Volvo and Ford Europe joined the zero-emissions 2035 bandwagon. Britain has committed to banning the sale of new ICE cars by 2030. Other European countries are also considering similar actions. Problem is that “zero emission” can mean different things to different people. This means that battery-electric cars do not emit CO2, although this is technically true. Others believe this measure should encompass the entire manufacturing process, including materials and recycling, to get a lifetime CO2 measurement. Pure electric cars are significant CO2 emitters if this is used.
“There are many practicalities that will prevent net zero by 2035. It is unlikely and manufacturers don’t plan to go completely electric globally. Why should you cut yourself off from all markets? The U.S. will not be doing this in that timeframe. Molden stated that the U.S. will continue to sell ICE cars as a global carmaker after this date.
BEVs have a lower life-cycle emissions than full hybrids, with manufacturing taking up about half of the total CO2 emissions. It is not as significant as you might think. I don’t think this will happen by 2035. Molden stated that he expects governments to allow full hybrids for longer periods of time, which is very sensible.
“Even if Europe became fully electric, the manufacturers would still have to make ICE vehicles for the rest. This statement is not credible, even if it comes from luxury brands. He said that it is too costly and doesn’t deliver the CO2 reduction promised.”
This is not what European politicians want. Next week, the European Parliament will vote to approve a proposal from the European Union (EU). The European Parliament will vote on a proposal to eliminate ICE from new cars by 2030, with half of all new cars being “emissions-free” by 2030. The voting process is difficult to predict according to the Transport & Environment group (T&E).
T&E stated that “It should not be a problem for the EU Parliament support this proposal”, in an article titled “Breaking hold of the combustion engine on Europe”.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), recently released a report that cast doubts on both the short- and long-term benefits of moving to battery-powered vehicles. Supply chain disruptions and the conflict in Ukraine were two of the short-term obstacles. The price of key battery ingredients such as nickel, cobalt, and lithium has risen, putting at risk one of the key targets for battery-electric success: price parity with ICE cars, which is $100 per kilowatt. The supply of these essential elements was becoming a problem.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) established the IEA. The OECD is a group of democracies headed by the United States with market-based economies. It has been charged with developing policies standards that promote sustainable economic growth.
Allysia Finnley, Wall Street Journal columnist, recently reported that the goals of big investors in electric cars may be out of step with reality. This is because the prices of electric cars are still 35% higher than ICE-powered models and the price gap will only increase as more critical minerals are sought.
The problems in making BEVs (battery electric vehicles) worsen, and competing technologies claim to have ICE technology. Hybrids combine small batteries with ICE to maximize efficiency. However, they have very limited battery-only capability. The batteries in PHEVs are slightly larger and can be charged separately. They offer an electric-only range of 25 to 35 miles, and should soon be able to travel between 50 and 60 miles. I have just driven the Vauxhall/Opel GrandlandSUVPHEV. It has a battery-only range between 24 and 29 miles, but it might still be able to provide ICE-free daily motoring for most drivers. It’s a huge advantage to be able to travel long distances without worrying about range anxiety. It is smaller than a BEV and therefore costs less. What’s not great about this?
Kelly Senecal, co-author of “Racing Toward Zero – The Untold Story Of Driving Green” (with Felix Leach), stated that ICE cars being killed prematurely will lead to waste of valuable resources. Hybrid technology, which combines ICE and batteries, is the fastest way for global carbon dioxide (CO2) to be reduced.
“PHEVs combine the best of both. The electric motor can power city driving while the internal combustion engine reduces range anxiety for longer trips. Imagine filling up with renewable fuel. This is a great solution for the environment as well as for consumers convenience,” Senecal stated.
“Most drivers can get their daily commute done on a small battery in a plug-in PHEV. This means that there are fewer resources needed to produce PHEVs. He stated that hybridization is the best and most responsible way to electrify transportation in today’s world with limited battery materials and supply chains issues.
Hybrids have faced fierce opposition.
Tesla’s Elon Musk once said that he didn’t like plug in hybrids or any other half-hearted attempts to go electric. They are considered transitions or amphibians by Musk.
Julia Poliscanova, a T&E analyst, stated this several years ago.
Plug-in hybrids, also known as plug-in hybrids, are fake electric cars that were built to perform lab tests and get tax breaks. They do not allow for real driving. Even in the best conditions and with a full charge, these cars pollute far more than they claim. Carbon emissions can rise if you don’t drive them gently. These cars should not be subsidised by the government with billions of taxpayer money.”
This criticism of PHEVs is valid, but it’s narrow. Big vehicle fleet operators have purchased PHEVs and received huge tax-payer subsidies throughout Europe. Many operators of large vehicle fleets cheated the system by allowing drivers to rely solely on diesel or gasoline and ignore the battery. The battery-only range of 30 miles for professional drivers driving 200 to 300 miles per day is not an advantage, but an irritant. These PHEVs emit more CO2 than ICE vehicles because they weigh more than ICE counterparts. This range is sufficient to allow low-mileage private motorists to go all electric. Banning PHEVs is a waste of valuable interim technology.
It didn’t matter that the Vauxhall/Opel Grandland did not reach the advertised battery capacity of 39 miles. PHEVs were the best option for daily driving. I was able to get 26.7 miles on an average recharge. I achieved an average of 171.8 mpg during my week with the car and increased the vehicle’s fuel efficiency from 45 to 76.2 mpg.
Local driving was electric-only for me and most motorists. You can also travel long distances without worrying about range anxiety.
Vauxhall/Opel used to be part of GM Europe. In 2017, Groupe PSA took over the brand. Fiat Chrysler merged with it in 2020. The Vauxhall/Opel Grandland, a close relative to the Peugeot 3008 or 5008, is now part of the Stellantis conglomerate, which also includes Citroen and Fiat, Jeep Lancia, Chrysler and DS.
Vauxhall Grandland Grandland Plug-In Hybrid 1.6 Turbo
Combined power = 222 HP
Combined torque – 360 Nm
Petrol power – 1.6 litre 4-cylinder turbo 178 hp @6,000 rpm
torque – 300 Nm @ 3,000
Electric power – 109 HP @ 2.5000
Torque – 320 Nm @ 500-2,500
Battery – 12.2 Kilowatt
Only electric range – claimed 39 mile WLTP
Average WintonsWorld distance – 26.7 Miles with 7 refills
Fuel economy claims – Overall 192 mpg
Average WintonsWorld – 171.8 mpg
Acceleration – From 0-60 mph 8.9 seconds
Maximum speed: 140 mph
Gearbox – 8-speed manual
Drive – Front-wheels
CO2 – 31 g/km