Plug-in hybrid vehicles feature impressive official fuel economy, but environmental groups have doubts about the compliance of the real-world figures with the claimed ones.
In its recent report, a pressure group Transport and Environment has compared the fuel efficiency figures in reality from various studies, and named plug-in hybrids as a “con” and “fake electric cars”.
The research reveals that PHEVs’ real average CO2 output is closer to 117g/km, while a quoted average is 44g/km.
PHEV emissions are much more comparable to those of conventional cars than [those of] electric cars,
The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) with a research group Fraunhofer сame to a similar conclusion. They studied a wider range of real-world fuel economy data of vehicles available on the global market.
Those figures showed that actual PHEV economy was 2-4 times worse than declared. Plug-in hybrids cover in reality much fewer electric-only miles than manufacturers expected and assumed in official tests.
Today automakers strive to introduce PHEVs with a larger electric range than before, to let the vehicles travel more on electric charge and be more emissions-free, accordingly.
For example, the new Mercedes- Benz GLE 350de has a 31.2-kWh battery pack, in comparison with just 13.1 kWh of the older Range Rover P400e.
The problem with the studies was that they relied on data from company car drivers. Much of the data came from fuel cards, meaning that if you have fuel free of charge, you will unlikely use payable electricity.
Proper figures will be available next year. In the EU, new cars must be able to automatically report their true economy, so the real data can be assessed against the laboratory test numbers. This will give a true picture of the use and emissions of plug-in hybrids.
PHEVs will be a great part of CO2 reduction for coming years, if they can overturn their image of tax-dodgers.