The Future of Plug-in Hybrids

On the face of it, a plug-in hybrid seems to be a sweet and addictive trend. The efficient properties such as reducing the reliance on fossil fuels have made plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to be quite attractive. They are also useful to drivers who are curious about Electric Vehicles (EV) because they allow them to have an experience without going fully electric. With PHEVs, cautious EV buyers are likely to enjoy the best from the world of gasoline/petrol/diesel as well as from the electric range. The gasoline back up that facilitates longer trips ensures that EV buyers don’t experience range anxiety. The owner doesn’t need to take a behavior modification of the EV. PHEVs use small batteries, thus reducing the cost of building an electric car.

What is the future for PHEVs
Although they have many advantages, the future for PHEVs still looks bleak. Here are some reasons why:

They are expensive and hard to maintain
In the real world, PHEVs are expensive, their fuel economy on motorway journeys is not very good, they are complex to maintain, have raised concerns about their battery life, and their resale value is uncertain. To many buyers, plug-in hybrids cause anxiety and are considered to be relatively complicated. Charging a PHEV is also time-consuming. Just like smartphones have varying charger connectors, PHEVs have the same problem with charger connectors having style variations making it difficult for other PHEVs to charge on certain stations.

Competition from EVs
The wave of all-electric vehicles, which have a long range and a high performance, is posing a great challenge to the upcoming PHEVs. According to Gil Tal, director of the Plug-in Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Research Center at the University of California, the much more elegant solution, is a fully-electric vehicle because they are simple to build and require very low maintenance. Plug-in hybrids are considered by some people as a ‘transition technology,’ or ‘enabling technology,’ or a stepping stone to achieving a fully-electric vehicle. Tal refers to plug-in hybrids as ‘just the training wheels’ in preparation for electric cars.

What does this mean for plug-in hybrids?
Hybrids are seemingly heading to an inevitable, long, and slow death. The sales of plug-in hybrids are lagging behind when compared to those of fully-electric vehicles. Buyers are buying fully-electric vehicles such as Tesla and Nissan Leaf, more than the PHEVs.

  • Buyers who would have otherwise bought plug-in hybrids in the past are now looking forward to when all-electric vehicles will hit the market.
  • The good news is that hybrids will resurrect in the year 2040 due to the ever spiking prices of gas. They will be a better solution by then, but an expensive one. As the cost of fuel increases over the coming years, PHEVs and EVs will dominate the market and will win over the Internal Combustion Engines (ICEs). Plug-in hybrids will enable more consumers to move beyond gasoline and diesel.
  • A plug-in hybrid has an electric range of 20-50 miles (ca. -80 km), and the gasoline combustion engine adds another 300-500 miles (ca. -805 km) of driving range. Hence, such vehicles will be compelling, especially to consumers who frequently take long trips.
  • Battery prices are also falling. This means that there will be a rise in PHEVs from the manufacturing industries since they will not require complex engineering since the cars are already 95% developed beforehand. PHEVs will be more affordable than they are now, but the number of sales is not expected to grow higher than 25,000 per year.
  • In the next 10-15 years, PHEVs will become more popular. However, purely battery-powered cars have been predicted to overtake PHEVs in the coming months. Plug-in hybrids have a short-range electric when compared to all-electric ones, thus resulting in more people preferring EVs. The 30 miles (ca. 48 km) electric-range offered by plug-in hybrid cars is not enough.

The future of plug-in hybrids will be very competitive. It is expected that the PHEVs will disappear when the public gains awareness of the BEVs. Plug-in hybrid electric trucks, due to their large batteries, will be the last one to survive when PHEVs face their slow death. The future doesn’t look so good for the plug-in hybrids. However, currently, they remain as some of the best-selling electric vehicles in the world.

Herbert Sward is an experienced copywriter and blogger. Currently, he is an editor at Skin Answer blog. Herbert is also very enthusiastic about digital marketing and aims to become a well-known expert in this niche. You can reach him on Twitter.

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One Response to “The Future of Plug-in Hybrids”

  1. Marc says:

    I know this blog is almost 2 years old, but its conclusions are really all over the place: PHEVs are dying, but they will remain a competitive segment, they reduce the cost building an electric car, but they’re too expensive.