Another emissions scandal appears to be emerging in Europe. This time it’s about the car equivalent of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A recent report from the European Federation for Transport & Environment (T&E), testing three of the region’s most popular plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles, shows that the cars, promoted as green vehicles ideal for long distance travel, actually much more polluting than advertised.
Even starting with a full battery, T&E noted that the BMW X5, Volvo XC60 and Mitsubishi Outlander, three of Europe’s most popular PHEVs, emit more CO2 than advertised. The three vehicles emitted 28% to 89% more CO2 when tested by Emissions Analytics on a fully charged battery and under optimal conditions. On an empty battery, the vehicles emit three to eight times more than their official values.
This stayed even when the BMW X5, Volvo XC60 and Mitsubishi Outlander ran in battery charge mode, which usually starts when drivers charge before using electric mode in low emission zones. Under these conditions, the PHEVs emitted 12 times more CO2 than advertised.
Julia Poliscanova, Senior Director for Clean Vehicles, called out the results of the tests and called out PHEVs for their polluting nature. “Plug-in hybrids are fake electric cars, built for lab testing and tax breaks, not really driving. Our tests show that even in optimal conditions, with a full battery, the cars pollute more than advertised. Unless you control them gently, CO2 emissions can be off the charts. Governments must stop subsidizing these cars with billions in tax dollars, ”she said.
T&E estimates that once the PHEVs ‘batteries are used up, the BMW X5, Volvo XC60 and Mitsubishi Outlander can only drive about 11 to 23 km (about 7 to 14 miles) before exceeding their officials’ CO2 emissions per km. This, of course, invalidates the idea that PHEVs are ideal for long journeys. This is compounded by the fact that the three vehicles are all equipped with a small battery pack that cannot be charged quickly.
“Car manufacturers blame drivers for the high emissions of plug-in hybrids. But the truth is, most PHEVs just aren’t made right. They have weak electric motors, large, polluting motors and usually cannot charge quickly. The only way plug-ins will have a future is if we completely rethink the way we reward them in the EU’s CO2 tests and regulations for cars. Otherwise, PHEVs will soon end up with diesel in the dustbin of history, ”said Poliscanova.
Given the results of its tests, the European Federation for Transport and Environment advises not to stimulate PHEVs as often as now. After all, the cars seem to be more polluting and should be viewed as such as well.
Below is a previous study on PHEVs, showing similar results to the recent tests of the T&E.
PHEV White Paper Sept2020 0 by Simon Alvarez on Scribd