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Plug-In Hybrid Cars Gain Ground in Race With Electric Rivals

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In late 2010, General Motors sought to gain high ground for Toyota’s successful Prius hybrid with the Volt plug-in hybrid, a car that can drive short distances solely on electricity and start the gasoline engine for longer distances. did.

But as many early adopters opted for fully electric vehicles like Tesla’s Model S and Nissan Leaf, the Volt and other similar cars struggled to get drivers. We’ve done away with the Volt and set our sights on a fully electric car.

But something interesting happened during the obsolescence process. Sales of his plug-in hybrids are on the rise in the United States, in part due to the recent surge in gas prices. The automaker sold a record 176,000 cars last year, up from 69,000 in 2020, according to Wards Intelligence. Decreased from 15.3 million in the previous year to 14.4 millionaccording to Cox Automotive.

Fully electric vehicles make up about 5% of the new car market, and most analysts and industry executives believe that the ultimate expected to overtake hybrid vehicles in 2020. But hybrids still account for about 7% of revenue, driven by more plug-in options, and that number could grow for at least a few years.

Automakers are struggling to ramp up production of electric vehicles because battery supplies aren’t growing fast enough. As a result, the average price of a new electric vehicle is now skyrocketing at he $66,000. This opens up possibilities for plug-in hybrids.

Unlike conventional hybrids, which can only be refueled with petrol and rely on the engine, the plug-in operates entirely on battery power. These cars also have smaller batteries than all-electric vehicles, making them more affordable. I also like the fact that you don’t have to plug it in for hours to get a full charge. Road trips allow you to refuel with gas, eliminating the range anxiety that keeps many from buying an electric car.

Karl Brauer, executive director of research at automotive research firm iSeeCars.com, said: “And given the supply chain issues and price hikes we’re experiencing right now, I suspect they regret that decision.”

Bauer and others also note that many car buyers are not ready to buy electric vehicles. According to JD Power research, one of the biggest reasons people don’t buy is that the US doesn’t have enough public charging stations. Also, it is inconvenient to charge an electric vehicle in a public station in about 30 to 60 minutes (even the fastest charger is a common rate) or overnight at home, and many drivers do not I don’t want to allow

The plug-in hybrid was designed as a transitional technology to introduce people to the benefits of electric vehicles while reducing their concerns about the technology. But when gas cost about $3 a gallon, the savings these cars brought didn’t necessarily add up.

Now, some people are reconsidering these cars because a fill of gas can cost upwards of $100. Buyers of major models such as the Toyota RAV4 Prime, Jeep Wrangler 4xe, BMW 330e, and Hyundai Santa Fe Plug-in can claim up to $7,500 in federal income tax credits.

The Wrangler 4xe was a surprise hit, becoming America’s most popular plug-in hybrid, with sales nearly doubling to over 19,000 units in the first half of the year. Cox Automotive executive analyst Michelle Krebs said the RAV4 Prime is so popular that dealers can’t keep it in stock and buyers have to wait months.

Starting at $41,515, the RAV4 Prime will go 42 miles (42 miles) on electricity alone. As you keep going, Prime runs stronger, like a familiar Toyota hybrid. Prime is the fastest and most powerful RAV4 with 3 electric motors and 302 horsepower. Gas-electric hybrid mode burns 38 miles of fuel per gallon. With a total range of about 600 miles, it can go twice as far as an electric car before needing to refuel.

The average American drives 29 miles a day, which Prime can easily handle with just electricity. Over a week of daily charging — Prime’s battery can be recharged in about 2.5 hours with a home charger — Car can go over 280 miles without a gas thimble (equivalent to 94 mpg) Typical new car gets 27 mpg

Some owners of plug-in hybrids, like the Chrysler Pacifica minivan that’s been around since 2017, claim they haven’t been to the gas station in weeks. According to the Department of Energy, charging the RAV4 Prime costs about $1.07 for the equivalent of 25 miles of driving.

But critics of plug-in hybrids argue that these numbers and calculations are based on the assumption that owners plug in regularly to maximize the environmental benefits of electric motors and batteries. claim to be. Some owners of plug-in hybrids use it like a gasoline car, never or rarely charge their car. Plug-in hybrids used in this way tend to achieve moderate fuel economy and do little to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In Europe, plug-in hybrid vehicles are driven in full electric mode 45-49% of the time. study It was announced in June by the International Clean Transport Council, a non-profit research organization.

Some plug-in hybrids can only go about 20 miles on electric power before needing to start the petrol engine. Skeptical engineers and analysts believe that combining two forms of propulsion in one vehicle for such a paltry gain is needlessly complicated.

Some auto executives, including GM, say plug-in hybrids aren’t worth investing in. GM aims to sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

GM’s director of electrification, Tim Grewe, said plug-in hybrids will become obsolete as electric vehicles improve and charging infrastructure expands.

“EVs are better,” Grewe said. “Battery technology is getting to the point where we don’t need range-extending engines.”

European countries, which are more advanced in the transition to electric vehicles than the United States, are also encouraging people to move to full electric vehicles.As a result of this, sales of plug-in hybrid vehicles in Europe in the second quarter 12.5% ​​drop All-electric vehicle purchases surged 11.1%, while year-on-year.

Still, many automakers such as Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Jaguar Land Rover continue to introduce new plug-in hybrids. These companies argue that it could be a decade or more before electric vehicles are affordable and convenient enough for most people.

Some luxury car makers say they have come up with an improved kind of plug-in hybrid to fill the gap in developing fully electric vehicles. Executives argue that these cars will draw more buyers into the electric age because they’re more fun and powerful, yet nearly as convenient to use as petrol cars.

The $104,900 Range Rover plug-in has boutique London luxury and 443 horsepower. It can run 48 miles on electricity alone. The BMW 330e sedan has a button called Xtraboost that, when pressed, sends him a 40-horsepower electric shock to goose acceleration. This is similar to the nitrous oxide shot in the “Fast and Furious” movie. The 330e costs $43,495, which is on par with the standard version of the same car, even before tax credits.

Even supercar makers like Ferrari and McLaren are embracing plug-in hybrids as a way to squeeze every last drop of Dionysus out of their internal combustion engines. Ferrari says its 818-horsepower 296 GTB plug-in hybrid (prices start at his $323,000) is faster at the benchmark test track than any V-8 model ever produced.

Fancy models aside, plug-in hybrids are playing a key role, according to some analysts, getting more people into electric vehicles sooner than if the industry relied solely on fully electric vehicles. you can get in. His Brauer of iSeeCars.com points out that nine of his 10 US car buyers are still buying conventional cars.

“If PHEVs can serve as pure electric vehicles and use less fuel than conventional vehicles as hybrids, it will still be a significant reduction in CO2 for the consumer.”

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