The editorial debate: Should plug-in hybrid cars be saved?
Are plug-in hybrid cars, which are somewhere between a simple hybrid and a purely electric drive, still of interest? Opinions differ within the Automobile Propre editorial team!
For Pierre: “Yes, it is an excellent electric antechamber”
Statistically, the average daily distance in France is well under 50 km, a value that almost all plug-in hybrids on the market can achieve in electric mode. Starting from this principle, a double electric and petrol engine makes it possible to have butter and butter money by combining the qualities of both. With it, we can drive emission-free and cheaper on weekdays on predominantly inner-city commutes where internal combustion engines consume the most, and take longer trips on the road on weekends and holidays without the need to worry about recharging, especially on the motorway, where the autonomy of electric vehicles is melting like snow in the sun.
Theoretically, the plug-in hybrid can therefore satisfy more people by becoming the only vehicle in the household thanks to its consummate versatility and being cleaner than a pure combustion engine, provided, of course, that the “We offer ourselves as regularly as possible to practice charging.
There is also significant scope for technological advances as the rechargeable hybrid is one of the newest additions to the motor world. The cursor can therefore be placed closer to the electron supply to reduce the carbon footprint, to benefit with larger battery capacities and developments in the electrics to cover larger displacements in the electrics and already existing downsized heat engines, sober and reliable, up to the Reversal of roles and becoming range extenders like BMW did with the i3 REx, which was probably right too soon.
What cannot be taken away from the battery hybrid, however, is that it is an excellent antechamber to the electric vehicle. Firstly, because it’s a perfect introduction to charging with a network made up of the gas station, to create habits without the fear of breakdown and fearing the specter of a broken terminal. Subscription card, smartphone apps, plug format or even exotic units such as kW and kWh, learning takes place in a relaxed manner. Then you can enjoy the comfort and reassurance of electric driving, offered by the silence, the absence of vibrations and its flexibility, which is particularly felt in urban areas when cycling or using public transport is of course not possible.
Plug-in hybrid car: operation, advantages and disadvantages
For Florent: “No, customers have already switched to electric”
As Pierre explains, the plug-in is certainly seen as the solution that combines the best of two worlds: a battery that allows you to make your daily journeys electric and the thermals to calmly contemplate longer journeys and those Fear of limitations eliminate autonomy. But this two-in-one site is also a wheels between two chairs site. And instead of seeing the glass half full, I see the glass half empty.
This complex technical assembly is too expensive, which leads to models that are too expensive. Example Renault Captur: In the Techno version, the battery hybrid costs 8,950 euros more than the mild hybrid … and 6,050 euros more than the simple hybrid. It is therefore necessary to know how to make the investment profitable! Problem, drivers of plug-in vehicles don’t always know how to deal with them. A rechargeable model is interesting…when it’s recharged. Because if the battery is empty, the fuel consumption can skyrocket due to the weight of the machine.
At the end of 2021, Citroën emphasized that customers of its hybrid C5 Aircross “55% of journeys under 40 km are made in electric mode only and 52% of customers already charge their vehicle once or twice every 100 km”. “Encouraging” according to the brand, “not enough” for me. In addition, the manufacturer has added a warning to the multimedia system for vehicles that are not charged regularly enough, as if customers have forgotten why they took a plug-in!
The battery hybrid was deprived of its function. It is most often bought by companies that avoid part of the taxes. But these will then drive little electrically. In early 2022, a study showed that private individuals would make 47-49% of their journeys electric (corresponding to Citroën data), compared to 11-15% for companies.
You might as well move on to the next step as soon as possible, 100% electric. What’s more, customers appear to be doing it: in France, electric vehicles accounted for 12% of sales from January to July, while chargeable hybrids accounted for 8%. In Europe, while electric car sales continue to grow in a market disrupted by a shortage of electronic components, plug-in hybrid sales have been falling.
A higher premium helps the electric car, at least for vehicles up to 47,000 euros. If plug-in hybrids have an advantage in terms of autonomy with their “bi-fuel”, they are challenged by electric cars, which now have improved autonomy, with the new family cars having an autonomy of around 450 km. And even if it’s not comparable, the customer knows that a quick charge will help them have a great trip. And if it takes longer than a full tank of fuel, it’s now significantly cheaper.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of an electric car?