Is End Near for Plug-In Hybrids?
Looking at the global car market right now, you might think plug-in hybrids are the new black. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 30 different plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) are currently available. More are on the way as automakers add PHEV models to transition American car buyers to electric vehicles (EV). But expected changes in European Union regulations and investment guidelines could paint the future of PHEVs black.
The issue? Some environmentalists suggest that PHEVs are not nearly as "green" as they are portrayed to be.
The problem is not so much with plug-in hybrid technology but how plug-in hybrid owners use their vehicles. In short, people infrequently plug them in. And when plug-in hybrids are not operating in electric-only mode as often as possible, they are less fuel-efficient and more significant producers of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides than conventional cars and trucks.
Why is that? With the added weight of their battery packs and motors in addition to their internal combustion engines (ICE), PHEVs are heavier than conventional vehicles.