Popular plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are produced by BMW, Peugeot, and Renault, but are they really as environmentally benign as they claim?
Not in accordance with a recent round of on-road tests carried out by researchers, who assert that the vehicles produce far more carbon dioxide than reported by official measurements from typical lab tests.
The claims made by the BMW 3 Series were particularly false, according to experts at Graz University of Technology in Austria, with PHEVs generating more than three times the carbon dioxide claimed, according to The Guardian.
As a component of the climate change answer, plug-in hybrid vehicles are sold to motorists and governments. In actuality, they emit much more pollution than claimed and operate as a harmful diversion from complete electrification. According to a press statement from Richard Hebditch, director of Transport & Environment UK, they pollute substantially more than advertised in city and commuter tests.
In order to travel long distances with no emissions, PHEVs combine a small battery with a gas or diesel engine. Environmentalists contend that the vehicles emit significantly more pollution than claimed and are less climate-friendly.
There were several well-known PHEVs tested besides the BMW 3 Series that released a lot more carbon dioxide than the automaker promised. According to The Guardian, the Peugeot 308 polluted 20% more than the official rate while the Renault Megane polluted 70% more than the official test grade.
Car fuel emissions are tested according to regulations based on the WLTP, but detractors claim that the lab’s controlled environment doesn’t accurately represent real-world driving. Instead, using portable testing equipment, researchers from the University of Graz drove automobiles around the city.
Carmakers claim they must use WLTP data in their advertising despite the environmental consequences of erroneous pollutant readings.
The European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E), which ordered the testing, claims that the PHEVs’ electric driving range is limited and that the study’s automobiles polluted more than they claimed to.
According to the T&E website, the electric range of all three of the PHEVs in the city of Graz was less than 31.06 miles.
The selling point of plug-in hybrids is that they offer the ideal balance between a battery for all of your local needs and an engine for large distances. But in-depth research reveals that this is a myth. Only one of the three PHEVs tested in cities had the specified electric range, and all three produced greater emissions when used for commuting.
According to Anna Krajinska, vehicle emissions manager at T&E, lawmakers should treat PHEVs according to their real emissions, as The Guardian reported.
T&E concluded from the testing that governments should concentrate on offering incentives for the purchase of completely electric vehicles rather than hybrids.
Between 2030 and 2035, when a complete prohibition on new hybrid sales takes effect, the UK government is debating which hybrids will be permitted for sale. A minimum range requirement of zero emissions will likely be introduced for the sale of new cars, according to some industry insiders.
The car sector will have eaten up its remaining carbon budget by 2035 and will have exceeded it by up to 75% by 2050, according to research from consulting company Kearney.
The report, which was commissioned by electric vehicle producers Rivian and Polestar, stated that in order to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement, all automobiles must be carbon-free globally. It also stated that automakers must reduce supply chain emissions.
Although the UK has made a public commitment to phase out the sale of new gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2030, plug-in hybrids still have a backdoor for dirty fuels.
The truth is that PHEVs continue to be significant polluters. Hebditch said that without strict regulations governing what will be allowed, we run the risk of not having the fully electric future we need and instead locking in CO2 from cars through the 2030s.