The Death Of The Plug-In Hybrid Is Inevitable

DEC 2 2018 BY MARK KANE 151

Plug-in hybrids and hybrids are both doomed?

According to a recent Bloomberg article, we are entering a stage of the final 20 years of high diversity of alternative powertrains. In the end, only all-electric cars will survive. The hybrids and plug-in hybrids are expected to die by 2040.

“With Tesla fever running high, middle-ground vehicles are becoming irrelevant.”

Well, that’s more or less right as hybrids and plug-in hybrids were always considered a middle solution to full EVs until all-electric becomes more affordable with longer range.

We already see that most plug-in car sales are all-electric and most best-selling models are electric (China, U.S., globally). In the U.S., BEVs took over PHEVs by a 3:1 ratio in Q3 and soon are expected to eat into conventional hybrids too. Perhaps electrics already are.

All-electric cars are getting more affordable, offer longer range, have charging times improved, infrastructure has proliferated, design and features are compelling while acceleration becomes best-in-class. Purchase of BEV is also perceived as a bigger social statement than hybrids.

One of the biggest advantages of BEVs is their simplicity in terms of service, compared to modern ICE, which are very complex.

“A full electric is a much more elegant solution,” said Gil Tal, director of the Plug-in Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Research Center at the University of California, Davis. “It’s very simple to build and very low maintenance.” In retrospect, he contends, plug-in hybrids “are just the training wheels” in the industry’s preparation for electric cars.”

Currently, many manufacturers plan to introduce a lot more all-electric models than hybrid/plug-in hybrid models. In the U.S., the Chevrolet Volt will come to an end in 2019.

“The death of the hybrid, while seemingly inevitable, may be long and slow. A spike in gas prices during the next few years may even draw it out. “I can see them having a role until 2040,” Tal said. “But the problem will always be [that] it’s a more expensive solution, having two drivetrains.”

On the other hand, PHEVs still might be needed to convince petrol heads that electric drive works and to familiarize them with the tech. But yes, eventually PHEVs will die off. As the title states…it’s inevitable.

Source: Bloomberg

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151 Comments on "The Death Of The Plug-In Hybrid Is Inevitable"

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Right. They were supposed to be bridge vehicles that spanned decades in the transition to evs, as it turns out they are a bridge to nowhere.

I wouldn’t say PHEVS are a bridge to nowhere, but more a bridge that’s a LOT longer than we initially realized.

That’s government speak for “nowhere”

The petro-auto cartel played us, as we were already “on the other side” ~TWENTY YEARS ago!

Hybrids were always meant to delay the all electric era.

Hybrids addressed the reality that without lithium batteries, it was very difficult to build a car with two drivetrains, and there was no national high speed charging network that would allow sub-100 mile range pure EV’s to to meet typical car owner’s expectations for long distance travel.

See the ranges above? Just extrapolate 20 years of good faith improvement and competition. Suddenly! 800 miles of range for 30K. 20 millions BEVs
Oh! BTW the Altra EV was Li-ion.

Historically, the Prius wave was a bone thrown by the cartel to calm down the anger of all the people hoping to get already loved electrics that the car companies just crushed the year before, while selling off the rights of the Ni-MH batteries to Texaco. They could just improve what was already on the road, instead of killing the electric car.

Some of The 1st Hybrid Utilized Metal Hydrate Batteries : Lexus 300 Sedan (I Believe) I Tried One Out & was very Smooth …But I wasn’t Keen On 2 Drive Trains with a CVT transmission & Passed on it…

Perhaps. But from the perspective of reducing CO2 emissions hybrids were and still are a great solution, affordable for the ‘middle class’. EVs are still too costly for many. PHEVs like the Volt allow their owners to drive emission free for most of their travel. The Prius Prime still a hot seller and so will be the Honda Clarity PHEV, ugly rear fender and all. These cars save the environment – today!

That Graphic just proved that in ’20 years of EV history’ shows that ’20 years from now’ nothing necessarily absolutely has to change. Speaking of which, if I wanted to drive a sports car 2 seater in 1999 that was all electric, I could. If I wanted to drive a MIDSIZED CUV in 2003, (or even a Ford Ranger, or Chevy s-10) that was all electric, I could. But If I want a NEW two seat roadster at a middle-class price – there are none available for 2019. There are also no mid-sized CUV’s (although there are tiny Bolts) available for 2019. I’m gathering there are very few remaining Tesla Roadsters on the road due to the deterioration issue with the PEM. When Tesla finally washes their hands of the ‘obsolete’ car, then finally anyone can put a stock motor controller and battery charger in the car and put those cars back on the road where they belong. But its a stretch for this article to claim that the world is coming to an end in the next 20 years. For PHEV’s to die, there would have to be a dramatic decrease in battery prices, volumes, and weights. I see… Read more »

With Tesla like ranges, 300 miles, coming to market, with Tesla pushing battery costs lower, they’ve made Volt like solutions obsolete.

Too bad though, the Volt has just risen to Average reliably in the Consumer Reports Survey, which should have started to see a sales surge. Having documented reliability allows more people to pull the trigger. So, GM perfectly timed this just before a sales increase was likely.

I would like to say, GM could have swapped the T-shaped battery out for a Spark-EV battery, which would have given it slightly more interior space, a real 5th seat, and 75 miles of AER, but the problem is, once they do that, with 75 mile AER and DCFC support, they might as well go all in anyways, and make the Volt an all-electric vehicle, Volt body on the Bolt platform, with almost 260 mile range, people would buy it.

I ran out of breath reading that.

Haha me too.

For an underfloor battery, the body would need a major change in shape, thus not really being a Volt any more…

It’s the fuel lines and electric underbody that they worry about

They could have gone that route iland I would have brought it. That’s the issue I’m having. I want a car that is going to last me the next 15 20 years and Phev so far are the ones. i3 and Now the Clarity are on my list but I don’t know if BMW i3 can last that long with the battery and scooter engine Only Honda’s and chevys could last that long.

No they won’t buy it…

Volt is just too small.

I disagree. The Volt is a great compromise for the 40 mile average daily driver that occasionally needs to drive farther. It just wasn’t producing the sales needed to keep it going and since it’s donator sister the Cruise was cancelled, the Volt couldn’t carry the line.

The problem is if we buy hybrids, the ICE car makers won’t retool their engine facilities to the electric drivetrain + batteries any time soon.

Also the price was just way to much to me IMHO up here in Canada for basically a semi-electric Cruze.

1. If you drove the Cruze and the Volt back to back, you’d note how different they feel. The Volt drives a million times smoother, with better handling, less road noise, and of course the smoothness and quiet of an electric drivetrain.
2. “Semi-electric” while I suppose technically accurate does a disservice to what the Volt is. I like the term electric with back-up better.
3. Before the phase-out of the tax credit up there, the Volt was price-competitive with a similarly optioned Cruze. Granted, there were mega stripped down Cruze trims that the Volt couldn’t match, but the mid-range Cruze’s with similar options would sell for similar to the Cruze at the end of the day.

If Mary Barra wasn’t afraid of the cell and sold vaporware self driving for Volt and Bolt, they could have outsold Model X,S and 3 combined.

I think the brand and driving dynamics were also not in line with the pricing. Eco/money saving people are usually not willing to pay that much. People looking for performance and an aspirational brand will pay high prices.

I thought the Cadillac ELR looked great, had GM’s most aspirational brand, but the performance was not there to backup the looks. The cabin was also too small for the majority of people. They limited the ELR potential making it a two door coupe in a market where coupe sales were already on the decline and a tiny fraction of sedan sales. The pricing was also crazy.

GM should have added the drivetrain to a small SUV.

It was for me. I had a Ford Energi for 4.5 years and then I got a BEV. Hopefully the Energi’s new owner will do the same for them.

Fusion energi makes complete sense as a second family car if your daily driving is like mine. I bought one off lease for $16k loaded titatnium version. Heated and cooled seats with 70k mile bumper to bumper warranty still on it. (Had 28xxx miles on it and warranty is too 100k miles). My daily driver to/from work is like 15 miles so I rarely put gas in. I don’t takes trip to investment properties 3-4 times a year and sometimes travel 100 miles each direction for a 5k/ or other race so for me the energi was the clear winner.. if I could have gotten a used volt I would have done that but no other car is even close to meeting my needs like this plug in is. If I drove a Tesla at 75mph in the winter up the mountains to a race and had to drive back I’d be a little Leary of the range. The closest supercharger between me and the mountains is about 30 minutes out of my way. For now, I’d much prefer the plug in and fill up gas once every 5 months. (I generally don’t fill it up because I don’t use… Read more »

Toyota sold 1.52 million ‘electrified’ vehicles in 2017, 3 years ahead of schedule. It looks like it will be quite a while before hybrids and plug-ins are dead. It also looks like it’s going to take a switch to solid-state batteries in reasonably priced EV’s to kill them because EV’s with the current batteries just aren’t good enough for most people. Solid-state is at least a decade away, so start your countdown to plug-in obsolescence from there. Don’t forget there will be a lot of bargain-priced used vehicles of all types from conventional ICE vehicles to plug-ins available for decades to come as gasoline stations slowly become charging stations.

It’s stupid to carry a big heavy piece of machinery around for the one percent of the time that you need it. For vacations, just rent an ICE car or long range fast charging BEV. By the way, that Model S in the photo looks incredibly good. Wonder where that photo came from?

“It’s stupid to carry a big heavy piece of machinery around for the one percent of the time that you need it.”

In the first place, obviously most people don’t agree. If they did, then few people would drive cars with a back seat.

But more importantly, that viewpoint is based on a fallacy: That the only time a larger battery pack is being “used” is when you take an extended trip.

There are many advantages to larger battery packs, from the ability to fast-charge faster to longer battery life (and better resale value) to not having to worry about the impact of cold weather on range.

BEVs with larger battery packs are more useful, more capable in many ways, and more competitive with gasmobiles.

Larger battery packs make BEVs better. Period.

Two weeks into my Model 3 LR DM, from two LEAFs, I agree. Period.

And it costs twice as much.

You stopped a couple of points early:

Larger packs costs a whole lot more.

Larger packs weight a whole lot more thus many parts (suspension, tires, etc) have to be bigger.

You stoppled a couple of points early.
Larger packs require more upfront mining and processing . => More pollution, as mush as 8 years of drivign an ICE.
Larger packs takes cell away from other cars that could be electrified..

I think the ‘big heavy lump of machinery’ being referred to was the engine in a hybrid.

And more expensive.

Yeah, it really does look hot as hell.

You are always carrying extra battery, or a big heavy motor that you aren’t using, just so you can use it on a long road trip.

This is a very old reductive debate, where the conclusion always ends with you should just walk everywhere. Because your comment inevitably leads to the conclusion that you could just get an iMiev with 60 miles of range and then rent a car for anything longer.

But then the next guy says all you need is a NEV. The next guy says all you need is an electric bicycle.

The next guy says that electric bikes are for wimps who don’t want to pedal, and everyone should be bicycle purists and pedal under your own power like the Chain Ring god intended. Then his crazy bro says you should be man enough to ride everywhere with one effin speed, and fixie gearing and stop relying on gears like a wimp.

Then the guy who says bikers are a hazard to people walking on sidewalks pipes in, and says people should just walk.


Give this man a medal! I couldn’t have said it better myself. You’re always going to be carrying something big and heavy that you don’t need every day whether it is a larger battery or an ICE.

There was hope for Mazda’s rotary engine to be small and provide the range when needed occasionally.
“The rotary engine (range extender) has no turbo and is a single rotor engine. It functions purely as a generator. It is placed flat and is as big as a shoebox. With some peripheral issues such as cooling, you talk about the size of two shoe boxes, still very compact. The wankel motor is vibration-free. The buyer will therefore not notice anything if the range extender starts when the battery pack runs out.”

And the last guy would be absolutely correct. Although you left out the guy that said you should take mass transit.

“It’s stupid to carry a big heavy piece of machinery around for the one percent of the time that you need it”

So I should ditch my $26,500 (after credits) Energi (100% EV daily commuter and gas on trips) for a $85,000 Tesla (cheapest maximum range/charge speed: both of which are significantly less than my PHEV).

And I’m the stupid one?

That’s the same logic I used when getting a Clarity PHEV. TM3 LR has ~4x the battery, costs almost 2x as much after rebates and would increase my EV miles by ~20%. I’m curious which car has a lower carbon footprint.

58 kwh extra means around 10 extra tons of CO2.
130 MPGE is better for Model 3 than 110 mpge for Clarity PHEV, so you have 150 g/mile vs ~ 177 g/mile. Or 27 g/mile extra. Or 4 tons over 150,000 mile lifetime.

Clarity PHEV may have lower carbon footprint by 6 tons, assuming US average grid emissions.

Now if you drive on gasoline 27% of the time, and don’t swap Model 3 for something else for road trips like assumes, you have 257 g/mile for Clarity PHEV, or 107 g/mile more. 42 mpg on gas is not so great by today’s hybrid benchmark anymore.
Then Model 3 would have lower carbon footprint by 6 tons. But it takes some fishy assumptions, as it adds upstream emissions for gasoline, while ignores upstream emissions of power plants, and ignores the fact that marginal grid emission may be much higher than grid average when almost no new nuclear or hydro plants are built anymore.

You may apply the same to the battery. Heavy PHEV battery just reduces fuel economy. E.g. 42 mpg Clarity PHEV vs 55 mpg Honda Insight or bunch of other 50-58 mpg hybrids:

I know the meme that gas engines do not improve, but back in real life plain hybrid thermal efficiency just reached the point when it is getting better at carbon footprint than typical electric grid, and the grid can’t catch up, except few tiny regions of the world.

2040 is quite a while away.

Or in EV terms, it lies beyond multiple attempts to kill the EV by Big Oil et al.

In particular, this has nothing to do with GM’s decision to kill the Volt right now without any clear replacement. Rather, the Volt’s assassination is part of the latter (i.e., attempts to kill off EVs altogether). With the Voltec system having existed for more than a decade and costing GM far less than earlier, there was no excuse not to already have it placed in larger vehicles, in particular SUVs and minivans.

Yes this was an assassination. They could have applied the same tech in other models which could have made both the technology and the products popular and cut the costs. GM is going to lose the car market big time.

You know they are using the Voltec in the new Velite for China, right?

I really couldn’t care less what they sell in China. Voltec would have been perfect for a CUV or a light truck. But the T-Battery was a huge problem. It has to be under the cabin to allow for more roomy cabins. Take the hit on a slightly taller vehicle, it is worth it.

Tesla is getting very close the $100 kWh tipping point.
Unless they have special patents then LG and others may also be getting close to the $100 tipping point.

But, If GM could have updated the Volt with newer batteries, they should have been able to PRICE DROP the Volt for more sales.

It seems to me, a minor variation of the Volt Powetrain, could power the Front of a smaller Pickup, with the Bolt EV Powetrain in the Back, 40 kWh of the Bolts 60 kWh Battery, plus a 10 Gallon Gas Tank, and a good towing rating, could give GM a decent Foray into the EREV Pickup Space, prepping folks for a futre BEV Pickup! It could also give a EREV with 75-100+ Miles EV Range for most normal driving situations, and the power for Towing, with less Battery Range Nerves!

Most small pickups like the Colorado, have longer wheelbase than the Bolt, why not just use the whole 60kWh? More electric range is always better IMO..
60kWh would easily garner 120 miles of EV range.

Model3 Owned- Niro EV TBD -Past-500e and Spark EV,

Chemistry is one: Tesla has a much lower Cobalt usage and that’s costly.
Economy of scale is another : Gigafactory —
Pack efficiency : standard cells and design = cost savings. not so for small qty and pack designs of competitors.

Last I read, GM was expecting $100/kWh by 2021.

$10,000 factory just for battery cells for 100 kWh pack, plus buffer to get the same usable capacity, plus thousands for pack, plus R&D, margin, warranty, and you are at tipping point for luxury hotrod market, assuming taxpayer aid /s

I’d say that most people seem to want the simplicity of the Pure EV, which would give them more performance and luxury, the luxury of electric drive characteristics. Ultra-smooth acceleration and instant responsiveness, and the luxury of the quiet ride.

That’s why the BMW i3 REX is Genius.
With 120 miles of range, which is 4X more than most peoples daily driving needs, and a gas engine backup for longer trips.

The only issue is someone like Honda or Toyota would be needed to bring the price point down to the general public. Because BMW only knows how to build premium product: Excellent suspension, aluminum battery frame, and no-rust carbon fiber body. A light weigh package that optimizes performance.

The i3 has just gotten 5/5 stars in Consumer Reports Survey, and now the 2019 is Recommended.

But, BMW isn’t the manufacturer to price this for the general public, unless we see a Mini EV REX.

It might be priced well for the general public, if it were a M3, BMW M

The Volt has outlived it’s purpose to me. A few years ago, GM should have released Voltec Malibu and Equinox, but they wasted their lead. GM will hopefully be rolling out new EVs over the next few years with the knowledge they gained in the Voltec and Spark EV/Bolt EV experience.

I still think PHEVs have a place in large SUVs and large pickups due to their size and distance requirements. While the Rivian pickup/SUV are nice they are still $70k-150k vehicles. Once battery tech price competitiveness gets better, they will also convert to EV. Until then, it’s just too expensive. I see the market shifting to EVs in the small / medium car, and small / medium CUV markets first.

In Canada we are already importing Chinese Semis. So where does this lack of range idea come from, just pure greed and big oil bull shit. The Chinese will take over the world
If the Chinese can make a semi truck to go hundreds of miles and the big three can not make a decent range car who do you think will take over the transportation system?

The only Chinese all-electric Semi I know of being available in North America is the BYD one — but it only has some 125 miles of range… That’s perfectly fine for some applications, but not suitable for long-distance transport. Are there others?

Even the Daimler one promised in the future with 250 miles seems rather on the low side. To be competitive for long-distance, I think something closer to Tesla’s claimed specs is needed…

I migrated from a Volt to a Tesla model 3 RWD long range but if I lived somewhere with real winter I would have needed to keep the Volt to get the highway range in cold weather I need. BEVs still take a really big hit range per kWh wise in cold weather. Perusing the various Tesla model 3 forums turns up lots of threads from new BEV owners who are shocked their 300 mile BEV becomes a less than 200 mile BEV when the mercury dips below freezing. So, I think until 150+ kWh batteries for aerodynamic sedans and 200+ kWh batteries become available for compact (Rav4/CRV) sized CUVs PHEVs are a great solution. Tesla thus far hasn’t expressed any plans on making BEVs that will go 300 miles or more in really cold weather and they are the leader in BEVs. So, I think PHEVs have 5-10 year window of opportunity.

I also migrated from a Volt to a Model 3, but I do live in a place that gets cold winters and a lot of snow (Michigan). However, I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions from Model S drivers on what to expect, before I pulled the trigger on a BEV. For me, the range hit still allows me to do what I need to do, no problems.

They did put a variation of the Voltec in the Malibu, but without a plug, unfortunately. Weird decision, IMO.

2 million full hybrids were sold worldwide and probably another 1 million mild hybrids. These vehicles have reduced the oil consumption drastically. I will be happy if plugin hybrids also sell at a higher volume and BYD is already selling many plugins. These plugins use a small 8 – 12 KWh battery and yet go nearly 3,000 – 4,000 miles / year on electricity with the remaining range coming from the gas engine. Plugins are the best of both worlds, but automakers know that this will reduce the oil consumption drastically. So they are doing all they can to restrict kill plugins. That’s what GM did with the Volt. So they killed ELR, CT6-plugin and now Volt. What are they going to do with the 1 billion $ that they invested in this technology. Are they simply going to dump it. Here is the list of best selling plugins and their YTD sales so far. BYD Qin – 38883 Toyota Prius – 38115 Mitsu Outlander – 32734 BYD Song – 31699 Roewe Ei6 – 29185 BMW 530e – 27127 Its very nice to see EVs gaining the upper edge with their increase in battery range, but they are still costly… Read more »

Plug ins are a joke. If you can not build a decent range EV then give your factories to Tesla because they can.

You do know that all EVs are plug ins? Tesla only build plug ins, are they a joke too?

” Plugins are the best of both worlds, but automakers know that this will reduce the oil consumption drastically.
So they are doing all they can to restrict kill plugins.”
Why do automakers care that we use more oil? It doesn’t benefit them. Actually they need to go the other direction to meet CARB/CAFE regulations.

They are putting it into the Velite 6 they are building in China.

I see this low maintenance quoted over and over again. It makes sense to me, but I would really like to see numbers. A lot of things that break down in cars are not connected to the drivetrain, I.e. electric windows, climate control etc etc. some stats would be great to get an idea about the real advantage

Most of those things you site are mundane every day components. The industry should have gotten those items reliability under control years ago.

The only thing different in an EV is the drivetrain and the battery.
So, those are the things consumers have been waiting for proof of reliable service.

The BMW i3 2019 and the Tesla Model 3 has just gotten Recommended from Consumer Reports. So, we may be at the tipping point of seeing this increased reliablity.

Bad window are not repairs or service but warranty for bad workmanship. We are talking actual service like oil change brake pads wipers . EV only need wipers and after a long long time brakes as regenative braking does not require service. So no oil gas filterssosje plugs timing belts and other rip off service. Go EV and you will never go back.

Fewer parts do not necessarily mean less expensive to repair. Some parts on electric cars are inordinately expensive (Model S door handles, for example). So having an electric drivetrain does not guarantee the car will cost less to repair and maintain. For true lower maintenance costs, the car must also have both high manufacturing quality and high reliability.

The argument about maintenance costs are generally misleading. For most vehicles the grand total for the maintenance each year of a newer vehicle is going to be around $50 (the cost of a yearly oil change).

The average first owner in North America owns their vehicle for 6 years, which means most of the more expensive maintenance items won’t need doing until the second owner (and many BEV’s need similar large maintenance items – e.g. Teslas Battery coolant).

Repair costs on the other hand… Part of that will depend on the warranty period, but for the average first owner this is where things could get more expensive, if they’re unlucky and have a vehicle with a shorter warranty.

That’s partly evened out by the fact so far a lot of the more popular BEV’s are far more complex in other areas, leading to increased repair costs for those parts.

For the second owner and owners of older vehicles then the savings start to ramp up, when major maintenance parts are needed.

IMHO, the Toyota model of ‘We are great and you don’t have to Plug it in’ Hybrids will die sooner than the full PHEV one.
I see a role for PHEV’s with 100 mile ranges (like the i3 Rex) for some time.

We still have an issue with the energy consumption when towing with BEV’s. When that is overcome (by one way or another) the need for ICE’s except in some very specialised vehicles/use cases will be over. These will IMHO, be less than 1% of all vehicles.

Shhhhh, don’t make Toyota cry by implying Fool Cells won’t be the winner!

Likely maybe. But I disagree completely with the use of the word inevitable.
If the title had “ICE based hybrid” then I agree.
The point of a hybrid is to mix energy storage (gas and electrons in today’s offerings)
The Fuel Cell has not been abandoned yet.
There may also be other forms of fuel / reaction that could be used .
Never say never.

Exactly… So many ways to make PHEVs, a BEV range extended with a fuel cell is also a PHEV.

While a fuel cell range extender could be quite useful in theory (when using a more practical fuel than hydrogen), the price of fuel cells is not likely ever to get low enough to make this an attractive option outside maybe of some extreme niche uses…

The price of the fuel cells is not likely ever to get low enough … we know this for sure, because the price of Li-ion batteries has never budged a penny 🙂

How’s that Mirai ramp going? Are they out of production hell yet? No? Any day now they’re going to start flying off the lot…

Hybrids were the stupidest idea out of the antiquated brains or lack of brains at big auto

I’ve gotta say, this article not including a gif of Agent Smith saying “inevitable” was a missed opportunity.

I made this a few years ago.

PHEV = Gas car and should be banned

What’s with all of the EV Nazis around here?

I see two major fallacies with this article:

1. We don’t know how long it will be until BEVs can reliably be used almost anywhere. That will depend to a great extent on how fast for-profit EV fast (or ultrafast) chargers are built out nationwide or continent-wide. A prediction for 20-22 years in the future is unlikely to be accurate.

2. There will almost certainly continue to be regions of the world where the electric grid is either too sparse or too unreliable to make pure BEVs practical. In those areas, PHEVs will continue to be preferred over BEVs. For example, if I was going to go on safari in Africa, I certainly wouldn’t take a BEV to do so. Ditto for living in regions where electric power is at best available for only a few hours a day.

Decentralised solar+storage installations are actually more practical in remote areas than shipping fuel.

Liquid fuels might remain a more viable option in some extreme niche use cases, like expeditions into areas with no permanent infrastructure at all. However, for these I don’t see much point in having a battery at all…

Only if you have a permanent base and enough sunlight for solar.

They certainly aren’t as portable as liquid fuel.

That person running a small safari camp in Africa, with guests going on preset 50 mile routes – sure.

That person driving through Mongolia/Northern Canada/Russia/Patagonia etc. doing research? Not so much.

Solar and other RE will allow the developing world economies to catch up, just like when Russia went from few land lines to everyone having a mobile phone. This is a simple feature to put in a country where the majority of the populated world exists. There have been solar charging stations for sale for over 5 years. Some are even mobile.

People that won’t look into BEV in the future won’t look at PHEVs either, those kind of people may take normal gasser, but “normal” gasser won’t be available in couple of years because of stricter regulation, so they will all drive hybrids, plug or not, doesn’t really matter to those people, we see this phenomen already where many of the owners of PHEVs don’t plug in at all. So what is the point, just offer them normal HEVs, with more trunck space.

That said, there is still huge potential for hybrids to grow, don’t underestimate the other 98% of the car market.

“but “normal” gasser won’t be available in couple of years because of stricter regulation”

US just lowered emissions standards while GM and Ford announced they are going to focus on high emissions vehicles like trucks and SUV’s so the present is moving in the opposite direction. 16,000,000 cars sold in 2018. 300,000 will be EV/PHEV.

ICE, Hybrid and PHEV’s will be around for a long time. Certainly well past 2040.

There are also questions as to whether resources exist to supply batteries to 268,000,000 cars, trucks, buses etc.

The EV and PHEV adaption is already too slow. The loss of the $7,500 tax credit will slow EV purchase in the US. For US to hope for 25% EV/PHEV by 2040 will take actions such as raising MPG requirement, requiring much lower fleet emissions ratings, much higher EV tax credits, much greater investment in charging infrastructure.

US is going in the opposite direction right now.

It may not be the fuel consumption and the green status, It may simply be the driving pleasure. With EV adoption people will start to see how “gas” pedal can be responsive, those who won’t be bothered with charging and fear range anxiety will just have to buy a hybrid to get close to this “EV experience”.

Hybrid option is actually going to be performance option in the next few years. Mechanical drivetrain ICEs will just be the cheap options.

But enough of hybrids, bring on the BEVs…

PHEV’s will make sense for large trucks for the foreseeable future. For smaller more efficient vehicles BEV’s make the most sense.

Pure EV’s are likely not to work for 50% of car owners due to the need for home charging. For apartment dwellers, an increasingly large proportion of population, having an EV is problematic due to inability to charge at home. 30-60 minute charging is the foreseeable best time for public charging, add in distance from home, lack of power company infrastructure to build out high speed public charging and Hybrids and PHEV’s are going to be the car of choice for much of the population.

PHEV allows those people to have a car that can work for them 100% of the time, has very low pollution and can be charged when available for even lower pollution. With average commute miles creeping up to 40 miles, a PHEV with a solid 50 mile EV range and 30 minute charging time would be good solution for a majority of car owners in US.

And yet in leading markets such as Norway and China, the vast majority of BEVs are purchased in large cities, where most people live in apartments… Funny, isn’t it?

There is a little secret I’ll let you in on: electric outlets can be installed in public parking spaces, too! Shocking, isn’t it?

True for now, but do not discount autonomous wireless charging in the next decade which along with antrik’s response will eliminate this issue.

If battery change times to get to 80% (or preferably 100%) can be done in 5 mins , then I see the death of hybrids.

Reason? There is no way I would line up behind 2 people at a charging station and wait 30 minutes to charge my car.

It’s no longer about range anxiety now. I think people got over that. It’s now about charge time.

Most EV drivers rarely need to use public fast chargers at all.

Which is why low range PHEV’s work so well

PHEVs will have a role with transitioning the big oversized SUVs and Trucks to BEVs that will take longer. But it is funny how city buses moved quickly to BEV and skipped PHEV all together. But I guess the defined routes helped get around the ice industry created ‘range anxiety’ concept.

BEV will also pull many out of the oversized, clumsy, aerodynamically poor SUVs, and back into lower, better handling, more aerodynamic, more energy efficient sedans/5-doors.

But today the PHEV is just a compliance drivetrain, only offered because of air quality requirements and government incentives. Most will be just driven as hybrids with no intention of plugging in for such a short distance.

Couldn’t agree more and don’t forget huge rims and tires that sap efficiency…
Without inside news I have to believe GM already thinks PHEVs have no place next to BEVs in comparison to price, range, and performance…
But PHEV trucks still would make more sense at this point but I don’t imagine that will last for more than five years even though no one currently sells one….

They didn’t skip PHEV. PHEV buses are in use today.

The speed with which new technologies develop and take over, the year 2040 prophesies are of little value, because they essentially serve as a euphemism for “Perhaps sometime in the future”. It’s true that the ICE has reached, or nearly reached its highest possible efficiency, and that batteries continue to improve, but it doesn’t mean that BEV’s will be able operate absolutely everywhere ICE vehicles operate today (including @ 40,000 ft for 10K miles @ 600 mph), without needing some kind of a range extender.

This is about cars. Planes are obviously a very different problem…

To be accurate, the article is about nothing much, really 🙂 …. although yes, he does imply road vehicles as opposed to vehicles in general. By the way, does discuss electric planes as well, e.g.

400 watt-hours per kilogram and commercial flight become a reality. Planes are already being designed for when the battery density arrives.

“20 years?” By then we’ll have fusion power plants and safe thorium reactors.

We said that 20 years ago, 40 years ago.

Or something we haven’t yet thought about.

If you remember, in the early 1980’s we were told that vinyl records would be dead, and that CD’s would reign forever … or until we had a $20.00, non-skipping, non-scratcheable thumb drive that can store a few hundred CD’s.

And yet, vinyl is making a comeback for aficionados.

That’s exactly right; we have two “grown and flown” millennials on the family roll, who toggle between vinyl and Spotify – no CD’s. On a side note, the Bolt doesn’t even have a CD player.

PHEV and hybrids will eventually be a minority of vehicles. However, due to the need to at least halve emissions in the next 10 years, they are a necessity for now, and even more so than pure EVs. This is for several reasons: 1) It is literally impossible to make the required reductions with pure EVs, even if every single new vehicle sold is now an EV. This is a simple matter of mathematics. We need pure electric passenger services and PHEVs if we are to achieve the reductions required. 2) There is not the battery production capacity to make enough pure EVs. A PHEV, which can do 80% of its driving in pure EV mode, only requires about 1/5th the batteries of a pure EV. 3) There is not the variety of pure EV vehicles to satisfy the market. The market requires vans, SUVs, pickups, lorries and trucks in large numbers and they are not available. 4) Only 22% of the world’s grid is renewable. A pure EV on a 100% fossil grid only halves emissions. If we had 50 years to halve emissions then pure EVs are the way to go. But we have only 10 years. We… Read more »

Err, what? It’s impossible to make the necessary reduction even if every new vehicle sold was a BEV, yet somehow it’s possible if some of them are PHEVs instead?… And BEVs only halve emissions because of dirty grids, yet PHEVs somehow would do better?…

The number of BEV models available is indeed still low right now; but this is changing fast — while the number of *decent* PHEV models available is even lower. And battery production capacity is not really a limiting factor, since new battery factories can be brought up from scratch much faster than new car models are brought to market.

We currently make 1 million EVs a year and 100 million ICE. There is a shortage of both batteries and EV vehicle types to supply the market. For every 1 EV you can make with 64 kWh of batteries you can make 5 PHEV. The problem is that we need to halve emissions in 10 years. We currently have 1.3 billion vehicles growing at 5% per year so will have about 1.8 billion vehicles in 10 years. We cannot possibly produce about 1 billion EVs within 10 years since that is 100 million per year i.e. the entire current world’s production. However you can switch to most production being PHEV in 10 years. The best use of pure EVs is in passenger transport since a taxi travels 10-20 times the distance relative to a private vehicle each day. A 7 seater vehicle can carry 6 passengers. i.e. a vehicle like a Tesla Model X can reduce emissions about 50-100 times as much when used as a high occupancy taxi compared to when it is used as a private vehicle. The obscenity is that Tesla forbids taxis from Supercharging. i.e. the only hope we have of reducing road transport emissions enough… Read more »

The battery shortage is only short term.

As for taxis go, Tesla offers options for taxi companies. Just like the private supercharger they made in montreal for taxis.

The issue is not taxis using superchargers, but taxis hogging superchargers so normal people can’t use them. In that case, it hurts adoption of EVs due to the ripple effect. Taxis should go with private superchargers like the one in montreal.

Even if you could produce enough batteries right now for pure EVs, you still cannot halve emissions in 10 years as I showed above.
Tesla will not supply 120 kW Superchargers, only 60 kW chargers. i.e. if you want to use a Tesla as a taxi you have to install all your own chargers and be limited to 60 kW. If you want to compete against cheap taxis and Uber then 60 kW is too slow to economically compete.

Emissions will be lowered much quicker than you think as renewable energy prices drop rapidly. Once it is cheaper to produce new renewable energy than keep old fossil fuels running (which will be very soon), the conversion to renewable energy will grow exponentially.

I’m sure Tesla will supply 120kw chargers just fine. Just 60kw ones are cheaper and most goes with those so they can install more chargers.

The transition to EVs is going to come a lot sooner and happen a lot faster than anyone is saying and the savviest automakers know this, certainly VW and probably GM. Mary Barra’s stated reason for shutting down five factories, unfortunately including the Volt factory, is so that GM can focus their resources on EVs and self driving cars. I’m willing to take her at here word because it makes sense. If you look at other technological transitions in the last 30 years you can see that they were sudden and quick and a lot of legacy companies that didn’t adapt very quickly died. The two best examples are the PC and the LCD monitor. The minicomputer companies, Digital, Data General and Prime, all looked at the PC and figured that they could never get the same 70% gross margins that they were getting on minicomputers, all three were dead before the 90s were over. Once LCD monitors became affordable they displaced CRC monitors in about a year. EVs have one component that’s driving their cost, batteries, but once the cost of those drops below critical thresholds they are inherently cheaper and much much better than ICE cars. Electric motors… Read more »

Rivian is targeting a certain niche and I hope it works out for them, but it hardly does everything people need a pickup to do.

PHEVs are a gateway drug to EVs. And as EVs get better and better, the need for PHEVs will disappear. But until then, gateway drugs still serve their purpose.

I think this is actually backwards. PHEV’s have only just begun, and will become more important as plugin’s go more and more mainstream and EV ownership moves beyond primarily large urban/suburban markets.

The only reason why Phevs are popular is because they offer to save some money on gas or they are the only solution to those who want an electric car but have to travel more miles than what an EV allows. Once a reasonably price ev comes along providing that solution then Phevs are no longer a desirable choice. Tesla is beginning to make that happen with their superchargers and the model 3. I give it 5 years and Phevs are dead. 2040 is FF wishful thinking, the more they continue to try and push that belief the faster they will fail. It was like Kodak and RIM thinking they had decades to make a transition. Once a better solution comes along and the majority know it, they will rather hold on to their old phone, car until they can make the purchase.

It still has to play out whether the chargers work for a mass market. If a lot of Model 3 owners need to use the SuperChargers for everyday charging, even at 30 minutes it will problematic the chargers can handle the volume.

Musk has pointed out that to supply EV’s with power requires a massive build out of generation and distribution grid which is currently not happening.

50% with no home charging or reasonable access to public charging are going to need Hybrid or PHEV’s.

We don’t need massive build of generation or grid for EVs. The existing grid can supply 8000+ TWh per year. We use 4000 and EV charging would add another 1000-1500.

PHEVs need almost as many charge points as BEV if they are to get 80-90% of their miles from electricity.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

No, Musk pointed out that you’ll need lots of batteries and will want lots of renewable manufacturing.

Access to home charging is not a technical problem. It’s a market demand problem and cost problem.
If there’s increased demand for PEVs most of the charging problems will disappear due to developers, landlords, HOAs, condo management and municipalities responding and providing access.

Since there’s already more than 40% of the market that could easily have home charging, and another 20-25% that’s relatively easy, it’s not going to be an impediment to sales and demand growth.

Electricity demand would increase, but you don’t need that much of an expansion to meet demand even at 100% EV.

Also, due to the economics of electricity, high PEV penetration would lead to smart charging solutions. That only requires software and limited communications (a tiny amount compared to our normal Internet activity) so isn’t even a cost burden, and would _help_ the electricity grid.

Battery cost & density simply were not realistic until very recently. Infrastructure still requires a painful wait, for both commercial & home setup. Production capacity is obviously a major issue currently too. We’re getting there though. Plug-In Hybrids help to bring that about somewhat faster. Buying one right away doesn’t require upgrades at home or even much of a behavior change. You just plug in at night. Even with just a 110-volt connection, it works fine. Of course, there’s the complexity of needing to charge multiple cars in the same household. Those plug-in hybrids at home will help encourage people to explore the EV charging & driving experience. Remember, most people will resist change by simply dismissing the new tech as “not ready yet”. There’s little to do in response to that when they just plain are not interested. Fortunately, the step from traditional guzzler to plug-in hybrid isn’t intimidating and doesn’t require much of any education for either customer or salesperson. The hope from automakers is it will become a no-brainer decision for everyone, including dealers stocking inventory. Put it this way. Ordinary consumers will see the tech as “ready” when they notice old plug-in vehicle still on the… Read more »
Do Not Read Between The Lines

How to live with a BEV:
1) Buy a long-range BEV
2) Plug it in when you get home
3) Unplug it and drive it
4) Go to 2
You’ve now covered almost all of your driving
3) For longer trips:
a) Use a different vehicle if you have one and your BEV isn’t awesome (you’ll probably think it’s awesome)
b) Use built-in charging point lookup
c) Use a mapping app
d) Wait a few years and just drive it

I wouldn’t worry about buying now and trying to convince people.
Norway shows you what’ll happen.

And we have the Internet, so information is there for anyone who wants it.

BEVs are currently held back by battery production. (There are 6 month to a year’s wait in European countries of most models.) Within 3 years sales numbers will be much bigger, the degrees of separation will decrease, ignorance will decrease, experience will increase, consideration will jump, and sales won’t be a problem.

And what about the millions of Americans who live in apartments and condos with no access to a plug? It’s going to take some time for all of those places to become fitted with electrical sources for cars.

ExxonMobil is getting into bio-fuels (biodiesel from algae farms). Shell still keeps talking hydrogen. Toyota has not full abandoned fuel cells and embraced EVs. In the end peak demand or peak production will force the big oil companies to become energy companies are become irrelevant. Read Tony Seba’s “Clean Disruption.” He claims EVs, self driving vehicles, wind, solar, and distributed power will displace ICE vehicles, coal, nukes, oil, natural gas and centralized utilities by 2030. Perhaps a bit aggressive but the writing is on the wall.

Seba jumps on existing trends then extrapolates growth rates to ridiculous levels. It gets him attention but his numbers and dates don’t make sense.

While in general, I agree with the premise that PHEVs are a temporary solution, I definitely think that we have a decade or two left before they won’t be relevant anymore. I just wrote a long piece about my experience renting out 5 different types of EV and PHEV on Turo and when that article comes online, I think you’ll see why. And it has nothing to do with which technology is better.

I looked at renting from Turo, but it seemed expensive, and sketchy. I wish the major players would rent EVs.

Pure clickbait and unnecessary bashing of PHEVs. The big issue for EV acceptance on the US market is the expiration of the federal tax incentive for Tesla and GM, and soon for Nissan. The Honda Clarity will remain a good deal since the full incentive still applies. All other manufacturers (Kia, Hyundai etc.) are irrelevant since they import only a few hundred EV for the CA market each year. The Volt is a great car, especially for drives into more remote areas with poor charging infrastructure, or in cold areas where running out of battery could be lethal. That’s why the Volt is so popular in Canada. The LT can be had for $23k after federal incentives, and for even less in states that offer their own incentives. The mid-range M3 costs almost twice as much. I like my Volt, however, once the federal incentive disappears, the car is simply not worth it and sales would tank. GM saw the writing on the wall and is going back to the drawing board. With the tax incentive expiring prices will be prohibitive again for most customers for some years, and EV adoption will actually slow down.

Having watched a few tech transitions, I’d say the OP is correct – PHEVs will be a transitional tech that’ll eventually die. It’s just that the timeline is anybody’s guess. I don’t think we’re near the end for them; the Volt was killed for other reasons, such as its being a sedan.

As ICE starts to wind down, we’ll start to lose the infrastructure that supports it. At that point, PHEV’s low all-electric range will become a real problem, and consumers will see them as not different from the ICE dinosaurs that’ll be dying out then too. Note: this is quite a number of years off.

I think you’re way off on this one. The Volt was killed mainly because of the pending loss of GM’s tax credit and probably from a production standpoint of them having to consolidate their efforts around a singular vehicle (or drivetrain) to remain relevant while facing a $3750 price disadvantage to many other manufacturers. I’ve owned three electric cars, a Nissan Leaf (recently sold), A Focus Electric (still own) and a Honda Clarity PlugIn (recently purchased). If you want to know why my wife and I purchased the Clarity, here’s why. (1) We didn’t want to have to deal with charging on longer trips and there was nothing out there around $25K (post rebates) that could meet our needs. The Model 3 was still $41K minimum after rebates. (2) Charging infrastructure is insufficient in most areas. In the Bay Area there’s too many EVs for the limited chargers and in other areas there’s no chargers. Both my wife and I are facing the inability to charge at work (because of so many cars) public chargers being taken, and no real quick charge ability for longer trips. Even Tesla superchargers are crowded these days. (3) We didn’t want to deal with… Read more »

Good points mostly. But I don’t think the impending loss of the tax credit really had anything to do with the demise of the Volt. I think it was more a collateral damage scenario due to the death of the Cruze and the sedans made at the same factory.

The Volt died becuase it’s a sedan that was built at a factory that made other sedans, and was based on a Cruze sedan that was dying. Not becuase it was a PHEV. PHEVs still have a lot of life in them. It’s just going to be in larger vehicles.

Aggreged. It had already been reported that the Volt in its current form would be discontinued in a few years, possibly being resurrected as a CUV at a later date. With Hamtramck closing, it does not make sense to spend millions to move Volt manufacturing to another plant. How many more Volts would Chevrolet sell in the next two years anyways? Maybe 40,000? Probably a lot less, due to the loss of the federal tax credit. GM would have to further discount Volt to move them.

The Volt drove GM to invest in battery technology and electric drivetrains, forced them to train technicians across the country to service them, and gave them the know-how to build the first affordable long range BEV, the Bolt. But in the next few years, the charging infrastructure will be significantly expanded. BEV’s are the future, and GM knows it. They will continue to milk the cow (sell gas guzzling trucks and SUV’s) to satisfy shareholders and stay profitable while investing in BEV’s. GM is light years ahead of every other manufacturer other than Tesla in their knowledge of BEV’s and their deployment.

GM seems to defy basic economics and logic over and over again. There must be something which only they know, e.g. that they can’t make these cars profitably.

What do you do if you produce a great electric car years ahead of competition which your customers love? That’s right, you forcefully take the perfectly good cars which your customers don’t even want to part with, crush them and kill the program. EV1

What do you do if you have the, arguably best plug-in hybrid on the planet, biggest pure electric range but perfectly capable for long journeys, which is the highest selling EV on the US market and leads some customers to achieve 100,000 miles per gallon? It’s obvious, you stop selling it in Europe in 2012 and kill it in the US in 2019. The Volt.

Normally in business in the capitalist society you would be crazy to kill your must successful product, you would make more of it. With GM, I can’t wait to see which great EVs they come up with next only to kill them when they reach their peak of success!

Sure, anything with an ICE will be obsolete when solid-state batteries are mass produced and put in EV’s that sell at reasonable prices, but not until then. The current batteries are not good enough or safe enough to kill the ICE. As far as large vehicles in the transportation industry go, HFC will likely come out on top and stay there because the hydrogen infrastructure will be there before solid-state arrives.

“The hydrogen infrastructure will be there”, is a bit of an early call on the economic viability of the Fuel Cell, and its future overall widespread scalability into the passenger vehicle market.

When the existing limited hydrogen infrastructure is able to operate as intended, then that achievement will be a better indicator of what is economically viable in the autonomous ride share future, that is obviously coming next decade.

“The hybrids and plug-in hybrids are expected to die by 2040”. When I started to read this article, I didn’t expect it to die in 2040. It is only 2019 and that means it can be around till then. To me this is a dumb article.

What happens with more severe storms when the grid goes down and you can’t get a recharge to get out of town? This is why I currently don’t want to have a purely electric car as my only vehicle.

What about for pickup trucks? I would think the timeline for electric work vehicles is starting later and will take longer.

We need more charging stations along the way, near apartment buildings, shopping centers, garages etc etc! Municipalities need to do more to promote this infrastructure. GM could have done more as well to promote the VOLT and install charging stations near their lots/businesses. I have no problem paying for a charge (reasonable).

I can speak with authority because I own and drive a Volt…I just have to say,I really like it.
Thank you for listening.

Perhaps it will die but not today – not until they solve the problem of a wide rapid charging network. I am a fan of EVs. And we own one. But we have not gotten rid of our hybrid SUV because we camp out several times a year (about 10 and not in a Marriott) with one serious 2-week road trip with a fully loaded cargo, 3 bikes in the back and an ARB 50 freezer connected to the DC outlet. Renting is out since most rental companies do not rent SUVs with hitches (liability and such) to attach th platform bike rack.

I would love to hear from an avid EV fan who is also an avid camper – and by that it mean tent camping at areas devoid of electricity, in a tent and not a Hyatt. what is your experience camping using an EV?

Not so fast!
That might be true in fancy US. However, there is still plenty of life for them in the rest of the world.
Certainly, they should be phevs with at least 50-100 km (50+ miles) of Ev range. And they should make the wise move to add just an ICE generator (35 Kw would be plenty in most cases) and drop those pointless 2l+ engines and cumbersome gearings

I think the current incarnation of plug in cars are DOA and that’s a good thing. No I am not a hater I just believe that the current approach Is not right for the masses. I looked at the press release for the new lincon avaitor and it appears to have the special sauce. The plug in is the high performance model offering an additional 50Hp and 200 ft lbs of torque over the ICE verson. If we are being honest the problem with the current phev cars is the sacrifice performance to gain gas mileage. With the public buying powerful big SUV’s at a fever pitch this is obviously the wrong approach.