To date the selection for sale in the U.S. tallies to nine but reasons why they are on the rise include they’re an brilliant way for automakers to meet increasingly tough emissions and mpg regulations.
If you are just learning in this area them, following are some highlights and insights to get you started.
A Couple Different Types
As vehicles that build upon technology already developed for regular gas-electric hybrids, there are a couple of general categories of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles
Ford’s Fusion Energi is a excellent choice in a midsized sedan.
These are the 1) “extended-range electric vehicles” (EREV) and 2) parallel or blended hybrids.
SEE ALSO: Glossary of Electrified Vehicle Stipulations – Part One
Within the EREV category for now is only the Chevy Volt and Cadillac ELR. The now-vanished Fisker Karma had been one, and it was really a pure “series hybrid” by no means allowing the engine to drive the wheels but using it to only to generate electricity. The GM products are similar and operate in series mode much of the time.
All other plug-in hybrids are blended variety. Here the engine and electric motor both are connected involuntarily to the wheels. Like the EREVs,
Some PHEVs Are Greener Than Others
There is a bit of a dichotomy going on in the marketplace. Cars targeted at ordinary work-a-day pouring like the Volt, Ford C-Max and Fusion Energi siblings, Toyota Prius PHV, and pending Hyundai Sonata PHEV are the greenest.
Green speaks to greenhouse gas emissions, and the flip side of that coin is fuel efficiency, or in other words potential fuel savings.
Beyond that you have the new breed of powerful and lush plug-in hybrids. Hybridization is a marvelous way for automkaers to do what they used to when
Note the supercars of the world pushing upwards of 800-1,000-plus horsepower are PHEVs and it’s like having an ace in the hole to satisfy regulators and patrons who both want more of mutually contradictory objective – mpg and mph.
The same thought is trickling into luxury offerings by German brands, Japanese like Lexus which will wow us with more next spring, and others. These high-end PHEVs can still beat the efficiency and emissions of comparable lush and powerful square models, but they have
Namely, if packed with upwards of 400-plus horsepower, green cred comes from just enough electric energy storage to nurse them through government test cycles, give them a modicum of pure EV range, and make them look like heros. And they are heros as long as you don’t call on all that horsepower.
Cattle – even hybrid cattle – like to be fed and cars set up to rely mainly on potent gas engines will taste that fuel. There is no free lunch, but then this is even right to a certain point for all-electric Teslas if you use all they have also. The variation is the electric motor in a Tesla
So, if the plot is not to use the power frequently you’re fine, they can beat square cars, this is right. But if your plotting is to slash emissions, there can be a generous variation between official EPA ratings and what the vehicle does when on the boil.
In small, the relatively less-powerful PHEVs intended as more-sensible transportation have less potential to burn fuel
There’s the Volt and All Else
Plug-in hybrids are a step above regular hybrids because they work like part-time EVs. Electricity is your friend, and even in the dirtiest coal-intensive grid in the country, all-electric drive edges out an average modern internal combustion car car.
That said, the Volt has more EV range than any PHEV on the market – more than double. The Cadillac ELR is second-highest too, but at it costs more, is a luxury buy, and the new 2016 Volt offers 13-miles more range at 53 miles
(Sssh! Don’t tell anyone GM’s double-priced Cadillac is soundly beaten by a humble Chevy).
The nearest competitor to the Volt in its general price and demographic range would be the pending Hyundai Sonata PHEV which may offer 24 miles, and beyond that are the 19-mile C-Max and Fusion Energi by Ford.
Looking at EPA ratings for annual greenhouse gases, there is not as huge of a grams-CO2-per-mile variation, but these numbers can be misleading. The real game is staying in the e-drive zone because that is where a plug-in hybrid is much-more efficient and emissions at the tailpipe are zero, though upstream emissions at the grid need to be factored.
This assumes you are not using solar to
On the other end of the scale is the Prius PHV. It has the lowest electric range of 11 miles, but highest mpg of 50 mpg.
As it is, the Volt runs like an EV for 35=38 miles for gen one, and 53 miles for gen two, and General Motors OnStar telematics data suggests on average 2016 Volt drivers will go 1,000 miles between fillups. If they fill up the tank each eight miles, GM is effectively saying it’s excellent for 125 mpg given all the electric miles you’ll get.
Opportunity charging along the way or at your destination, if available,
If you drive within the e-zone each day, accounting for some miles range lost during winter where applicable, the Volt can go long intervals without rotary on the engine. Exceptions are 1) Cold temperatures may induce it to kick on to augment HVAC, and 2) the engine computer monitors gas and will burn off gas before it goes past its clearness date.
Anecdotes of ordinary Volt drivers going months between fillups were common when the car got 35-38 miles, and the
But beyond the Volt, all PHEVs are potentially capable of in succession electrically, so it depends on your actual distance.
Sorry to say for some, the Volt is less vital surrounded by than midsized competitors, so it is not a clear win in that category.
PHEVs Could Become A Gateway Drug To A Pure EV
Once you get a taste of pouring all-electric in whatever PHEV you get, you may find yourself wanting more e-range.
All-electric pouring can feel preferable 1) because it’s silent, charming, and novel, especially in the beginning, and 2) because it is cleaner and more energy efficient as mentioned.
Whether the extra $1,500 will help increase sales is being questioned.
Bolt EV Concept.
That could eliminate range anxiety, and already public have jumped out of cars like the Volt and into ones like the Tesla Model S, or even the Leaf or other sub-100-mile EV.
Range anxiety can be a valid dread – or an irrational dread – of the unknown. For the latter, once the ins and outs are experienced, peoples’ comfort levels can go up. Some may choose an 84-mile Leaf will work for them.
Price And Value Is A More Complex
PHEVs are all eligible for a varying federal tax credit based on their battery size in kilowatt-hours with the cap being $7,500. States may offer something too.
But PHEVs do cost more, maybe $4,000-$8,000 more for the mainstream varieties. Costs are higher because they are really combining two relatively refined powertrains into one vehicle. This can scare some public off or attract them depending on their view.
SEE ALSO: Should You Buy a Plug-in Hybrid?
In their favor, the less the gas engine is used, the less maintenenace it needs compared to a square car in succession it al the time. The electric powertrain needs no normal maintenance. Brake pads are used less because regenerative braking spares them, and
But they are complex machines and it would be fiction to say there is nothing to ever be concerned over. Same could be said of any of today’s complicated, computer-packed cars though, but remarkably, reliability keeps getting better overall.
A total cost of ownership comparo such as by Edmunds online Right Cost to Own calculator may show some 2015 PHEVs – newest year available – either doing well, or not as well as regular hybrid siblings or other comparable cars.
This latter possibility is the case in Southern California zip code selected for the C-Max Energi which Edmunds pegs at $36,169 cash, and its five-year total ownership cost is $55,076. By comparison, the C-Max Hybrid
A Prius Plug-in Hybrid in this area matches the regular Prius but. The base PHV’s sales price is $30,959 and TCO is just $36,544. By contrast the Prius trim level III costs $26,759 and in five years costs $36,676.
The outgoing 2015 Volt but, eligible for max credits has the strongest TCO. Sales price of $34,933 and five-year TCO is $37,278.
Compare that to a $22,675 Cruze Eco, which costs $42,339 in five years by Edmunds’ reckoning.
Ever hear of “pay me now or pay me later?”
Variables to consider can be several, including depreciation, taxes and fees, finance charges, fuel, insurance, maintenance, repairs and if
Beyond these, personal inclination, vehicle design and style and play in, as does whether you have ccess to solar, or otherwise comped charging. Also, if you charge intraday, that reduces cost, as does your actual mileage, pouring style, and many factors besides.
The small answer is from a cost perspective, PHEVs may not be a no-brainer, but they can make excellent sense depending on your needs and values.
We were also found by phrases: