What’s Better: A Fully Electric Car Or A Plug-In Hybrid EV?

FEB 7 2019 BY DAVID MURRAY 151

BEV purists take note, PHEVs might be the future, at least for the time being.

If you are one of those “EV Purists” who believe that PHEVs are “dirty gas guzzlers” then you probably shouldn’t read any further. You probably won’t agree with anything that will be said here. However, when it comes to EV education and increased adoption, this analysis is necessary.

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering the future of PHEVs. I also own and have owned several BEV and PHEVs, so I speak from a lot of experience behind the wheel of both kinds of vehicle. I’ll go ahead and give you a little spoiler. I do truly believe the BEV is the future of the automobile. Myself, in most cases would prefer a BEV with at least 150 miles of range over a PHEV. However, I’m also a fan of PHEVs. Most people will agree the PHEV is a transitional technology. The only question is, how long will they be relevant? 5 More years? 10? Maybe 20? Well, let’s look into that by tackling some interesting questions.


Background

How Much EV Range is Enough?

If you ask any PHEV driver if they wished their car had more range, almost 100% of people would say yes. I’m guilty as charged. I think we’ve all had that scenario where we are 1 mile from home and the gas engine comes on because the battery ran out and we feel defeated somehow.

 

I created this little chart showing the relationship between EV range and what percentage of driving the average American can expect, based on the idea that the average commute is between 30-40 miles per day. Obviously this chart might be different for different people, since some people only drive 20 miles per day, while others drive 80 miles per day.

But, let’s be realistic here. The reality is, there isn’t that much benefit in having more than 50 miles of range in a PHEV. As you can see more visually with this chart, you get diminishing returns for each mile of range you add beyond 50. Adding more range will continue to increase the price of the vehicle and consume more interior space with little added benefit. People who demand that they need 80 miles of EV range every day don’t need a PHEV, they need a BEV. That’s the bottom line.

I believe vehicles like the Toyota Prius Prime and the Kia Niro PHEV are at the bottom end of the sweet spot, and the Chevy Volt (RIP) and Honda Clarity PHEV are at the upper end of the sweet spot. I suspect a lot of vehicles with less than 20 miles of EV range probably wind up not getting plugged in a lot. After all, if you can only drive 20% to 30% of your regular miles on battery power, you probably don’t have much incentive to even bother charging the car.

Falling Battery Prices

So here’s the $64,000 question that I’ve been asking myself for years now. With the price of batteries continuing to fall, which type of vehicle benefits more? BEV or PHEV?

Well, honestly, it helps both. But there are certain fixed costs with producing a car that go beyond the battery cost. A BEV needs a larger battery to be a viable car, so we’re talking at least 40 kilowatt-hours, but preferably more. A decent PHEV can get by with a 10 kilowatt-hour pack. However, if you remove the battery from both cars and just look at the fixed costs to build the rest of the car, a PHEV will always cost more. So, once the battery prices fall below $150 per kilowatt-hour (which has already happened for some volume manufacturers) then the BEV starts to become cheaper to build. However, this chart isn’t entirely perfect because it is hard to account for the fact that some cars, like a Tesla with a 100 kilowatt-hour battery pack will cost quite a bit more than a car with a 40 kilowatt-hour pack.

So, I think this is what we’re going to see over the next 5 to 10 years. An EV with 150 miles of range or less will be cost competitive with a PHEV, and even possibly cost competitive with regular ICE cars. However, for any car that will be considered “long range” the PHEV or ICE will still be the most competitive on price. However, we’re just talking about purchase price. If you look at it from a total-cost-of-ownership scenario, both PHEV and EV will most likely be the winners over a traditional ICE. Much of this will depend on the cost of fuel over the next few years. It’s harder to make that argument while gasoline costs $2.00 per gallon. But we know that won’t last forever.

There is another consideration to be made with falling battery prices, though. Many manufacturers are already producing regular hybrid vehicles without a plug. With cheaper batteries it almost becomes a no-brainer to just cram in 8 Kwh worth of battery and a plug and call it a PHEV. The development cost is minimal because the car was already 95% designed beforehand. What is the significance? Well, I believe that falling battery prices means a lot more PHEVs are going to start popping up in the near term as compared to BEVs, which generally require a lot more engineering effort. Also, if a manufacturer was already selling the hybrid version at a profit, then chances are the PHEV will be profitable too, thus PHEV conversions tend to be a lot less risk.

Should a PHEV have DC fast charging?

Here’s an age-old argument. Currently, only a few models offer this, such as the BMW i3 Rex, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and the Toyota Prius Prime (only on Japanese models). In fact, most PHEVs have a regular charging speed somewhere around 3.3 Kw. Although a few models such as the Honda Clarity are offering faster options. What this boils down to is that PHEV drivers often find themselves wanting to drive on electric power as often as possible. And I’m guilty as charged. Even when driving a PHEV I will often make an effort to plug in at my destination if charging is available. I’ve even been known to go out of my way and sit in the car if I am not in a hurry, just to charge up to avoid using gas.

However, this behavior is irrational. There’s really no good reason to do this other than for “the challenge.” PHEVs are not dependent on charging infrastructure to get you where you are going. It’s also important to realize that if you have an ICE in your vehicle, it needs to run every so often anyway for its own good.

That aside, customers are often willing to pay for things that they don’t really need, but rather just want. So, what if we just want DC fast charging on our PHEV? Well, that’s fine I guess. But there is one important realization to consider. With level-1 or level-2 charging, the smaller batteries of a PHEV tend to charge much faster. Basically, its a fraction of the time of charging a BEV.

DC Fast Charging

However, when you start talking about DC fast chargers, things change. So, let’s imagine you have a BEV and you can get an 80% charge in 30 minutes. You might think that a DC fast charge would only take 5 minutes on your PHEV because the battery is smaller, right? Well, you’d be wrong. It’s still going to take around 30 minutes because the smaller battery pack cannot accept as much current as the larger one. So, while in your BEV you can sit at a fast charger for 30 minutes and get maybe 100 miles of range during that time, the same 30 minutes in your PHEV will probably get you 20 miles. I’m not saying it is pointless, but it certainly isn’t as advantageous as you might think.


Reasons customers might choose a PHEV over a BEV

OK, so a person has decided they want to drive electric. What are some of the reasons they might pick a PHEV over a BEV. Some of these might surprise you.

Availability – That’s right, not all plug-in vehicles are available in all areas. Outside of California, many areas have very few plug-in cars to choose from. Many BEVs are simply not available in a lot of areas.

Body Style – Believe it or not, this plays a big role and it is somewhat related to the above reason. If a person wants an EV, but they also want a particular body style, this limits the options even more. Right now, there are more PHEV options than BEV.

Affordability – Again, there are more PHEV options right now than BEV. Many of those PHEVs are more affordable than their BEV counterparts or competitors.

Lack of Charging Infrastructure – This is a big one. 90% of the country has limited or no charging infrastructure. What little we have is often broken or ICE’d. I’m not just talking about for long trips, but even if you are needing to do a lot of city driving in a single day.

Here in Texas we have enough charging stations to barely get by, but it requires planning out exactly where you are going to stop and charge, and then praying the spot won’t be ICE’d when you get there. Realistically, for the general public to get on board we need 20 times as many chargers as we have and they need to be working and available.

Dealerships – Dealers don’t really like anything with a plug on it. But they are less hostile to PHEVs since they don’t have to worry about charging them up and thus can treat the entire sales process just like an ICE vehicle.

Ignorance – This covers many areas, including possible ignorance of the customer or dealership of the advantages of a BEV. However, with my experience renting EVs and PHEVs out on Turo to the general public, I can assure you that the general public is not ready for BEVs, especially where I live. It’s going to take time for regular people to learn how to charge a car. It seems so simple to us, but for some people it’s like learning quantum mechanics.


Reasons to consider an BEV instead.

OK, so those are some good reasons to consider a PHEV. But, there are definitely some reasons to consider a BEV instead:

Less Maintenance – Yep, PHEVs still require oil changes and all the other maintenance associated with an ICE.

More Regen – For those that like one-pedal driving, you almost have to get a BEV in order for the battery and drive motor to be able to provide that sort of regenerative braking.

More Torque – BEVs generally have larger batteries, thus they are able to pump out a lot more juice. BEVs are almost always faster than a similar PHEV. This is especially true if operating the PHEV in EV-Mode, which relies on a much smaller drive motor.

More Interior Space – In most cases, a purpose built EV will have more interior space and storage since the battery will be placed under the floor. PHEVs often have even less space that an ICE vehicle because they have to fit the battery as well as an ICE.

Larger Tax Credit – At least for the moment while the credit still exists, you do get $7,500 for an EV, whereas most PHEVs wind up getting between $3,000 and $4,500.


My Final Prediction.

OK, what do I predict?

Tesla has been the only manufacturer so far that has produced an electric car of any sort that reached out into the masses, and that has been the Model 3. However, even the Model 3 is still somewhat expensive and seems “exotic” to a lot of people. However, this is generating more interest in vehicles with plugs.

I think over the next 5 to 10 years we’re going to see a lot more PHEVs popping up as more affordable “me too” products. Most of these are going to have EV ranges in the lower-end of the sweet spot between 20 and 30 miles of range. I don’t expect any of these products to sell in numbers greater than 25,000 per year. This is because a PHEV will always cost more than a standard ICE vehicle.

Most serious EVs with large engineering budgets coming out will be purpose-built BEVs. I do think PHEVs will be very common for the next 10 to 15 years. Once it is clear to the regular public that BEVs are the future of automobiles, PHEVs will likely disappear. The main reason is that, by that point, a PHEV will cost more than an ICE and probably cost more than most BEV models too.

ICE vehicles will hang around a bit longer on the really low-end vehicles where the main selling point is low-cost. Potentially, PHEV trucks might be the last PHEV hold-outs because with the large batteries they will need for long-distance travel and towing, a PHEV might still end up being more cost effective than putting 200 kWh into a pickup truck. But, we’ll see.

Keep in mind, this is all based on my opinions after owning multiple EVs. Feel free to provide your insight and options in the comment section below.

Categories: Buying Advice, EV Education

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151 Comments on "What’s Better: A Fully Electric Car Or A Plug-In Hybrid EV?"

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When I got my first electric car, the BMW i3, I could have bought it with a range extender – not quite the classic PHEV but somewhat similar. I opted for full electric and from that point on there was no turning back. Now, I am on my fourth EV.

I will never own another car with an engine in it.

As Bjorn has shown, even Norway’s infrastructure is currently insufficient for a big EV expansion.
And the GENIUS of the BMW i3 REX stands out. On a 300 mile Norway trip, sometimes chargers are In Use, and you have to wait for the charger to become available. But, not with the i3 REX.

Either you build a Tesla Charging infrastructure or you buy a BMW i3 REX.
Because, currently Ocean City, NJ has two 50 AMP charging spots, and yes that was sufficient for me being the only EV in town, when I visited. But, in 5 years? If the chargers are full the REX can drive you to the next charger. With the REX solution you just drive up to Atlantic City and use their chargers. ( And roll some dice at Trump Plaza while you wait, LOL. )

So, right now the BMW i3 REX solution is the Perfect/Luxury solution. No need to wait for a charger. You get the pure joy, speed, acceleration and quiet of an EV and no charging worries. ( Or you buy a Tesla. )

The problem with PHEV is there is no Tesla equivalent.

If Toyota was passionate about electrification, they’d take a Camry hybrid, find a way to fit 20kWh of $150/kWh cells, and make it all cost only $5000 more, before tax credit.

If BMW was serious about PHEVs, they’d make the REx cost $2k, pair it with a >5 gallon tank, not use CFRP, and not make the i3 a weirdmobile.

The Volt is mostly great, but not cost optimized, and not a crossover/SUV like GM’s bestsellers.

There’s just no world class effort with PHEVs. If Tesla was as half-assed, BEVs would be less than half as successful.

Agree with your “no Tesla equivalent” assessment. BMW had a great opportunity with the i3. Had they made it look like the classic 3-series, they would have sold hundreds of thousands in the US.

The BMW family has been a staple for the past few years (we will not discuss the truck and SUV which I previously regarded for the spacious comfort). I found a used 2014 Tesla S and fell in love. Then, after test driving the P100D at Tesla-Austin, I was dead-set on Tesla…but I wanted to see what the Tesla 3 had to offer before making a commitment. So, on a recent trip, I drove a Ford Fusion Hybrid Titanium Model. The Ford Fusion Energi Titanium is no Tesla, but a pretty decent compromise, especially for the mileage and amenities in relation to the price point.

The Volt T-shaped battery eats most of the interior space and reduced the rear seats to a penalty box. That’s a significant negative and the #1 reason I ruled that car out last time I was in the market (and still considering a PHEV).

The Honda Clarity PHEV is close to what you want. It is similar to an Accord with a 17 kWh battery. In reality the only compromise is a relatively small trunk pass through.

You forgot to mention the butt ugly design. The Accord, Civic, and Insight all look way better. Seems like they did it intentionally to me. Could you imagine if the Accord looked that bad?

The Clarity’s performance is also underwhelming, especially given how much power there is between the ICE and motor.

Finally, it’s the same $35k as the Volt, i.e. also not optimized for cost. If Honda can build an Accord Hybrid for $25k, they can do better.

It becomes more beautiful if you appreciate that function drives form. This is a 4,000lb full size sedan that gets 50EV miles on a charge which means 90% of the time its all EV and when on the highway for long trips where you can’t tell the difference as much between EV and ICE driving, it gets 40MPG as a hybrid. Test drive it in Sport mode and I would disagree that its performance is underwhelming (and you don’t reduce EV miles that much)

And after rebates even the Touring models costs only ~25K- that makes it gorgeous to me.

Elegance is immediately apparent. An ice design trying to masquerade as an EV can never achieve elegance.

I happen to like the design. Accord and Insight look plane in comparison. When I was a kid I thought Citroen DX is the ugliest car design possible. Today it is considered one of the all-time great car designs. Perhaps you cannot appreciate the design of Clarity yet.

Performance is balanced, it could be faster, but 99% of people won’t use that performance, so why bother and sacrifice fuel economy?

In terms of cost, Clarity starts at same price as Volt, but it is a full class larger and comes with driver assist features standard. On Volt/Bolt you cannot get these features unless you opt for the premier trim. So in reality Clarity is much cheaper than the Volt.

There is most certainly a world of difference between elegance and “so ugly it’s cute”. No one ever mistakes one for the other.

Of course I meant DS not DX.

The question “which is better” can be answered multiple ways depending on which problem you’re trying to solve.
Commuter car with infrequent long distance trips – BEV.
Short haul delivery trucks with predictable routes – BEV.
Trucks that will be used as cars and grocery getters – BEV
Trucks that will be used trucks on weekends – PHEV with enough battery to make the commute
Trucks that will only be used as trucks – Hybrid (for now)

Commuter car with infrequent long distance trips: The BMW i3 REX.

Bill Gates asks how we are going to solve the other 75% of emmisions after we solve transportation sources.

Plug in…… pure ev……let’s keep focused.

Buy a plug in, take the savings to buy solar or wind .

Bill Gates is still a few years out on the nuclear option (TerraPower) but yeah, plenty of good options for emmision free grid power in the future. Currently, our USA electrical grid is 35% emission free (20% nuclear included) compared to ~1.5% EVs on the road.

And something like 90% of the new power plants feeding the grid are solar or wind…. so yeah, transportation is lagging, not leading?

It doesn’t take a genius and sophisticated analysis to realize that PHEVs serve a purpose until battery prices come down substantially. People simply should ask, “How can I affordably reduce my transportation-related carbon footprint?” Opting for a PHEV is often the answer.

When I got my car I never considered a PHEV, yes it solves the range problem but you now have all the systems/components of an ICEV along with all the systems of an EV. So you still have to do your ICEV maintenance, maybe have repairs, etc.

For my wife though she would not consider a BEV, not only because the range issue but the time to recharge. Her next car we will definitely be looking for a PHEV for her though if we had to choose today I don’t think there are any that meet our needs. A PHEV Minivan (made by anyone but Chrysler) would be an easy sell for us.

We have a Pacifica Hybrid and love it.

Us too. Chrysler’s reliability isn’t a strong point but I think their minivans might be an exception – they know what they’re doing there.

Sadly it has one fatal flaw: No hold mode to retain the battery charge for later use. Simple to implement and just about every other PHEV has such a mode.

Not sure what FCA was thinking, but hope they fix that soon…

I get it. You just drive the car without worrying too much about the mode, or if you’re stressing the battery too much, or whatever. You plug it in when you get home and hardly ever buy gas. That’s the point. It’s the PHEV for people with other things on their minds.

Only out of ignorance. Once you own an EV you will understand. I used to own and love ICE cars too.

How has your reliability been with the Pacifica Hybrid? I keep hearing stories of problems with them, but then I see conflicting information, like the Consumer Reports article that praises them. Trying to sort it all out.

If you’re worried about reliability you’d get the Toyota Prius or the Honda Insight or the ugly one… the Clarity.

I have a friend that bought a prius. he would tell you it is not all that reliable or cheap to fix.

Thats why there are tens of thousands of Prius in the taxi industry…right Gary.

Agree, not cheap to fix… but pretty reliable in my experience. We are still driving our 2003 Prius, several expensive fixes over those years, but compared to buying a new car? We are way ahead. Original traction battery still fine.

The only additional item is oil change which is really cheap. BEVs still have the major and expensive maintenance which includes brake and transmission fluids, coolants, lubrication and various inspections.
I paid about $800 for a 4 year/48k mile prepaid maintenance plan for a Clarity PHEV. Try to service a Tesla Model 3 for that cost.

Tesla has exactly two maintenance activities scheduled in the first 4 years – change the brake fluid twice. That does not cost anywhere near $800. You don’t know anything about EV’s, do you?

Looks like you don’t know what you are talking about, it is much more than that, unless you are once of those people who drive the car for 3 years and then dump it. Tire rotations, inspections, cabin filter, and battery coolant at 4 years.
https://www.tesla.com/support/car-maintenance
Model S/X is maintenance is about $600 per year and Model 3 should be less, maybe $400. Of course if you don’t do it it doesn’t cost much until something breaks down.

A BEV won’t work for my drive cycle. I drive to Gramma’s 5 or 6 times a year @850mi round trip. In fly-over country, there are not sufficient fast chargers to do this trip. Not even Tesla. I can’t afford two cars, so, I have a PHEV.

There is also a third option coming online. Like a Dodge Charger with a V-6 and enough batteries to beat a Hellcat in a drag race. No plug.

You should move closer to your Gramma. I’m assuming that your Gramma is not moving anywhere at her age.

I think most reasonable people would say that an automobile purchase should be tailored to your life, not the other way around.

No plug? Why wouldn’t they when adding a plug will instantly reduce the price for consumer (or increase profit for MFR) by thousands via tax credit and state and local subsidies? If there’s enough battery, they will put a plug.

Exactly, why would you buy a Dodge V6 that’s only going to cost you money year after year after year in fuel and reliability, instead of a car that will literally pay for itself if you keep it long enough. — Accounting 101 Bot.

I bet you’ve never checked Tesla charging infrastructure, and you don’t know about the Honda Clarity, or the BMW i3 REX.

Up until “No Plug” I thought you were talking about the eCOPO that my Dad keeps raving about,
https://www.nhra.com/news/2019/electrifying-new-ecopo-camaro-will-make-exhibition-runs-pomona

Having criss-crossed and up-and-downed this country multiple times in a Tesla, I find it difficult to believe that your Gramma lives so far off the beaten track that she would be inaccessible in a Tesla. Presumably she has electricity where she lives?

You might be an exception, because my coworker took a multi day road trip in his Tesla Model 3 long range, and he was frustrated with charging time. This was in California/Oregon with superchargers and mild weather.

Joe is not an exception. Your friend is, that is if you actually have one…….

He had to wait for stations to become available. Also with quick charges to 80% he didn’t get the same range as charging to 80% at home. This could be due to battery cell balancing. Anyway he said the drive took much longer than planned on paper. The problem is when there is a holiday a lot of people travel. This means you have to wait for superchargers at popular routes. Those who do this regularly can chime in (not you Gregory Ballantye, you just insult people with no reason, it shows your insecurity and proves you are a small person).

Your Gramma lives off the grid? Very impressive!

You think off grid means no electricity?

Dead wrong. You obviously prefer delusion to reality……

Very good article. There is no “one size fits all” solution in any market other than tube socks. PHEVs based on a traditional hybrid architecture (ICE – electric motor – transmission) are likely to die off in the 2020’s as they generally don’t benefit from the new operating modes/features of BEVs and don’t reduce cost of from an ICE patform (just adds electric drive). Apparently though, we will see many new/improved models introduced over the next couple years. What I would like to see: A serial PHEV (BEV type platform with a Range Extender) I’d also like to see ICE motor regulations relaxed for this config as an incentive to move to the BEV style architecture as I beleive this would speed up the transition to BEVs by providing a solution for immature charging infrastrucute and high price of batteries, both of which will be solved some day. Here are my proposed changes: 1) less exhaust treatment – this means they can package the REx without routing a complex exhaust system which would interfere with the design of the BEV style architecture. Mitigating factor #1 is that the REx must run at one (or two) fixed RPMs and be highly… Read more »
I agree, with REX seems like there always will be a small niche category of users that want to be able to use chemical fuel when there is no charging available. I thought that was the beauty of the Volt, that it was really an EV with a range extender that didn’t actually drive the wheels… then they changed it…then they dropped it. I hear that Mazda is working on exactly this architecture, and using a tiny rotary engine for the ICE generator. This seems like the final state of BEVs to me, offering a small chemical or other alternate power source as an add-on option. I always thought the next iteration of ICE powered autos would be like diesel electric locomotives, using an ICE at a steady and efficient RPM to generate power, and using batteries/capacitors and electric motors as the “transmission.” Also, I thought the main weakness that hurt the BMW i3 was that the REx couldn’t generate enough electricity to operate the vehicle at full performance. I am personally interested in overland excursions, and just don’t see how anyone can cover 1000 miles of dirt track and find any electricity…but I do see that I would want… Read more »

Actually the BMW i3 REX works amazingly well as designed (<70% hold SOC) but CARB rules made after the car landed in the US forced BMW to software limit REX activation to <6% SOC activation. At that low of a SOC you don't really have enough battery buffer for "full performance." With a $20 bluetooth OBD dongle and an app called Bimmercode you can restore the <70% hold SOC factory programming on an i3 very easily, for a very capable and functional dual fueled vehicle. Highly recommended!

Whatever works for you to cut emissions. Do what you can.

Agreed. As a renter, I’m very volatile to my charging abilities as moving is more frequent. My wife and I got a Volt and it’s been an amazing experience. Plus, it will take her some time to get use to the plug before completely ditching gas. Shame they discontinued the volt.

Haven’t we already seen more than one article on this exact subject within the past few months, here at InsideEVs?

I don’t know that there is anything new to say. A few years ago, I expected PHEV sales to grow significantly faster than BEV sales, given the rather limited amount of energy that can be carried in the battery pack of a mass produced car. For example, PHEVs have a clear advantage in bitterly cold weather; if they run out of “juice” in the battery pack, they can switch over to gasoline power. I expected PHEV sales to outpace BEV sales until the average BEV battery pack contains considerably more energy than they do at present.

But the market clearly prefers BEVs. As I understand it, BEV sales are accelerating rapidly, whereas PHEV sales are almost static. I doubt that’s going to change, since BEVs are rapidly improving in range and the ability to fast-charge quickly. Another decade or so, and the market for PHEVs will likely disappear everywhere except in areas where electric grid power isn’t reliable.

You were just making that call early. PHEV’s will be strong sellers over the next 7 years.

The markets where BEVs far outpace PHEVs are driven by incentives. In markets with comparable incentives, the PHEVs do as good as BEVs.

Wrong again, agzand. I am noticing a pattern developing here……

The pattern is that you are consistently wrong.

Reason to avoid hybrid of any kind, including PHV: you have to contend with servicing two power trains. If battery goes bad, you still have to worry about gasser and find that it’s not worth it. If gasser blew a gasket or fail SMOG check, you may not want to fix it since battery could also be failing.

It’s MTBF problem. More stuff there’s to go wrong, the worse it is.

Except, there’s been no issues with plugin hybrid power plants.
The Electric motor is inherently reliable, and the gas engine has been out for 100 years.

MTBF problem is fundamental law of Physics. Think of it this way; if PHV has so much reliability, having just one drive train would make it even more reliable.

Going from 90% reliability to 95% reliability is a huge deal. Going from 99.9% reliability to 99.95% reliability is not as big a deal.

It’s a big deal if 99.9% reliability costs more for less reliability.

Also, we’re not talking about 99.9% that’s in warranty, which the MFR will fix. We’re talking about post warranty, and that isn’t 99.9%, especially when you consider the battery. Water pump might cost few hundred to replace, but the battery could cost as much as a new engine. And new battery still leaves old and worn gas engine. Same with blown engine and good but old and worn battery case, too.

Basis for those numbers please…….

That old saw about two different systems- Ha. It’s not relevant in any way for the Prius Prime. It’s integrated almost seamlessly. You don’t even consider it as two systems and maintenance is really low.

Yeah this is a cannard – the Tesla Roadster was the most unreliable car (besides being the most expensive), and the car that required the most $$$ maintenance, of any car I ever owned by far.

The Volt – supposedly overcomplicated – required very little maintenance – and unscheduled outages were very, very rare. So I wish people who didn’t drive these things would stop providing misleading information.

Never owned an “S”, but the cars simply cannot take the weather where I live – the car would be much worse than even the Roadster from a maintenance point of view.

I’m tending to think the ‘3’ may be better in this regard, but I know so little about owner’s experience with it – but of course that problem will solve itself in time.

You can’t compare two different cars from two different car companies. Had the Roadster come as PHV, it’d be even less reliable.

As for Volt and other PHV, let’s see in years later when the batteries starts failing. People won’t bother repairing it even though it’d have perfectly well running gas engine. Effectively, you’re putting in a new “engine” while still having to rely on very old engine.

Well, you ‘can’t compare them’ but I pay all the bills around here so I certainly compare them.
And apparently many others do also because the Hamilton EV society (canada) I attend used to have several fellow tesla Roadster owners. Almost all (except me) have traded them in for S’s and X’s.
Not a single Roadster left in the group. Seems like there have been many comparisons going on.

Of course in Canada they have to pay their bills also.

Ahhh, an “I pay all the bills around here” sort………… explains much

You don’t know much about Teslas, despite your claim of having owned one. Maintenace is next to nothing. Weather isn’t a big problem, so long as you park inside and keep it plugged in when not driving. I am providing you with just a bit of that Model 3 owners experience you are asking for, BTW…..

your first day of Tesla ownership will cause you to laugh heartily at your current confused self.

most people with PHEVs going forward (50 EV miles/charge) hardly every use the ICE so service in negligible.

Yes. And no.

On the one hand, you are always carrying around dead weight in a PHEV. If the engine is running, you are lugging around excess batteries you don’t need. If the engine is not running, you are lugging around an engine you don’t need. Depending on your use-case the efficiency loss can vary.

On the other hand, I have a 2007 Prius with 203,000 miles. I just changed the factory brake pads this past summer. By running each component closer to it’s optimal conditions, they all last longer.

My Prius battery died after 11 years 149500 miles. Since warranty was 10 years, 150K miles, it pretty much died exactly out of warranty.

Indeed, this is what one should expect. If it lasts significantly longer in most cases, MFR would provide longer warranty to boast against competitors.

Do you still trust the air bags to inflate if necessary?

Yeah, except the Prime gets north of 60 mpg while ‘lugging around batteries’ in gas mode. Not too shabby.

Let’s say the battery dies just out of warranty as was my case. You’re not going to spend thousands to replace the battery, because you still have decade old ICE to worry about.

With gasser, you can still drive much much longer with minor fixes like water pump replacement. ICE doesn’t cost thousands in replacement just out of warranty. But if it does, you don’t worry about aging battery.

If you consider long term, hybrids are more expensive than gasser, far surpassing any gas savings.

A small battery-pack wouldn’t cost that much to replace.

A long range BEV is also carrying around dead weight – the rest of the battery. If you are using 15 kWh of capacity for daily use, but have a 60 kWh battery for long trips, then you’ve got the weight and space of 45kWh of battery you don’t need daily – the same as the ICE on a 15kWh PHEV.

Volt and Clarity weights are competitive with Teslas. Clarity is larger than Model 3 and weighs just a bit more. So both cars carry comparable dead weights (ICE vs extra battery cells).

99% of car problems are due to electronics. A hybrid ICE engine is much more reliable than your typical USB port or navigation screen.

The two power train problem has several effects. First, it produces an ugly, sluggish, and undesirable car. Second, the resulting turd is no good at either ICE or EV, and carries the expensive fuel/service/maintenance/repair anchors of an ICE. Two power trains rob space, and add weight. When compared to a real EV, there is nothing good about them.

“Dealers don’t really like anything with a plug on it. But they are less hostile to PHEVs since they don’t have to worry about charging them up and thus can treat the entire sales process just like an ICE vehicle.”

Well, I’ve been seeing a lot of complaints over on the InsideEVs Forum, particularly in the Clarity PHEV section, about just that: Dealerships which don’t even bother to charge the battery pack on PHEVs. Maybe dealerships think they “don’t have to worry about charging them up”, but that leaves a test drive rather pointless, since the prospective buyer can’t try out the car in EV drive mode.

I’m sure there are exceptions, but generally speaking, those who choose to buy a PHEV are every bit as concerned about reducing their gasoline usage as those who choose to buy BEVs. You can see it in the comments they post, and how far many of them will go out of their way to avoid having the gas motor kick in. That’s something the “EV purists”, who think the only “real” EV is a BEV, don’t get at all.

Dealers who can’t do math.
The electric costs less than the gas.

( Oh, underfunded American Education System! But, we’ve got the best Jet Fighters. )

“Oh, underfunded American Education System“

Please don’t blame the American Education System because there are students who don’t want to learn. The education system provides opportunities (for higher learning) but the onus is on the individual student.

In some countries, they let students study college track courses or opt out to learn a craft, e.g. learn skills working with their hands.

“Oh, underfunded American Education System”

If US has underfunded education system, South Korea must be starving since they have even lower funding. Yet SK ranks among the top of the world in education. US should be trying to DECREASE education funding in order to improve.

Most car dealerships make their real money on service/maintenance/repairs. BEV’s have very little maintenance, and PHEV’s also require fewer oil changes, less maintenance (brake pads last almost forever, tires last longer) so it is contrary to their interests to sell these cars.

Nice discussion- but should have pointed out that the Clarity is the only PHEV (now that Volt is gone) to get full 7500 rebate, which makes it cheaper than the hybrid versions of the Accord (similar size car)

Doesn’t the Pacifica Hybrid also get the full 7500?

You are correct, the Chrysler Pacifica and BMW i3 REX both get the full $7,500 credit, according to the US Department of Energy, and the Land Rover gets close.
https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/taxevb.shtml

I think the Karma Revero does too – not that it’s a major player.

*edit. Memo to self: Read all replies before replying yourself.

I love my C-Max Energi. No problem with the extra space in back taken by the battery. In town, I can not remember when I last bought gas! Then, on the recent 900 mile road trip to upstate NY, it is smooth quiet and economical.. 39 mpg. For now, it is the perfect car. By the way, oil change is 10,000 mile interval and there is not much else to maintain. My wife loves her Mitsubishi iMiev. Great electric car! Too bad Mitsubishi chose to not develop and improve this excellent little car.

The C-Max Energi has a “Oil Life Monitoring System” but the guidelines for oil change is 20000 miles or 2 years, whichever occurs first. I too use my C-Max in town only for almost all the time and just force the engine to run every couple of months to keep it lubed. Every year or two I’ll make a 2000 mile trip to SoCal and then I’m glad the engine is there.

The C-MAX and Ford.
Amazing.

Instead of upgrading the battery to a better battery with more capacity, they simply cancelled the car.
Ford’s problems are Management.

The Ford Fusion Energi Titanium is pretty decent and has decent space.

For cars over 90% of humanity can work well with a BEV. For trucks, they could be PHEV as long as they get at least 80km/50mi on battery alone.

I live in an apartment so a BEV will not work for me (since I can’t charge overnight). I drive as much as 1K miles a week so a PHEV will not work given 20 to 50 miles of battery only range (assuming I get 20 miles per hour on a charge, 1K miles will translate into 50 hours of charging).

Something like Nissan E-Power technology will work for me assuming the vehicle is roomy enough for me to sleep comfortably when I need to crash during my long drives.

The Chrysler Pacific is too big for my needs and the Kia Niro is too small. The right size for me currently is the Mitsubishi Outlander with a crappy 22 mile battery only range (so I can’t buy it). So I have to wait for the market to produce something that fits my needs at a price point that fits my budget.

One more point, when you look at the range in ICE mode (after the battery has been depleted), neither the Honda Clarity PHEV or Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has great range.

Agreed. People who rent somewhat unable to buy an EV. Unless the rental has a place to charge or your employer offers charging, it’s a non starter. I believe almost half of the US is in the predicament.

According to to this web site. In 2016, at looks like about 37% rent vs own their home. Some of the renters will be renting a house instead of an apartment.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/07/19/more-u-s-households-are-renting-than-at-any-point-in-50-years/

A PHEV will work for you, but it appears you want all your miles to be EV. PHEVs are great for people like you because they can do 1000 miles a week with a combination of electricity and gas. That is the ideal situation for PHEV. Yes, you will use some gas, but a lot less than you would in an ICE.

“A PHEV will work for you, but it appears you want all your miles to be EV.“

Only one that would work is Chrysler Pacifica. I tend to drive at off peak times so I can maintain a relative constant cruise control speed [A]. I might go drive 400+ miles at a time (with bathroom breaks!). Neither the Clarity or Outlander gets 400+ miles on ICE alone without refilling.

Think of my 1K miles in a few trips as opposed to a daily commuter with lots of short trips.

[A] my Honda HRV is awd but I still manage 32 mpg on mix driving and as much as 40 mpg on highway. A PHEV in ICE mode is carry a huge amount of dead weight in the form of a dead battery.

Chevy Volt perhaps?
53 ev miles
42 MPG
8.9 gal. tank

420 mi. combined range

One negative I’ve experienced with PHEV that most don’t consider came about when I switched cars with my wife’s hybrid. Her trips are more random (some local, some farther than the EV range of the PHEV). She gets all confused about when to use EV and when to use ICE, or forgets to switch over. So the education side of a PHEV is harder for an “average Joe” than it is for us here on the forums. A BEV is much easier for them to understand: the range meter works exactly like a fuel gauge. They get that.

Yes, you can just put it in “Auto” mode, but we live right near the freeway so most of those longer trips the first thing you do is get on the freeway and drive 20 miles. Your battery is already used up before you get to your destination, much less get back home. That is both bad for the smaller PHEV battery to push a car at 70MPH, but also a less efficient use than saving the EV for city use when near your destination.

I don’t care about 0 – 60 speeds crap. I just want an EV or PHEV cross-over with good size cargo, enough space in the back seat for two child car seats, AWD and a big enough battery for my daily work commute. Mitsubishi (almost) did it with the Outlander PHEV.

I call them “EV bigots” and don’t give them a second thought. I’ve driven past broken and occupied chargers and through charger deserts with a sly grin … since 2016. Unleashed from chargers, I can travel direct routes without fear.

The other drawback for PHEVs, especially with smaller <8kWh batteries, is the damage that is done to them when driving pure EV under high demand driving (freeways, large hills, fast acceleration). To push my Fusion Energi at 65MPH on flat land is a drain rate of ~2C, which is the limit a Li-ion battery can comfortably handle. To push it any harder starts to degrade the battery. Thousands of miles of pushing it too hard and you find yourself losing ~10% or more of your range per year. A few years later your 25 mile battery can't get more than 16 miles and you are pissed at the automaker, who says "normal wear and tear" and washes their hands.

BEVs aren't near as demanding just because they have a huge battery that makes the drain rate <.5C. As long as they have adequate cooling, they do just fine in high demand driving.

I own a PHEV, purchased 3 years ago when the only BEV’s available were either Tesla S and X (too expensive) or lacked sufficient range (everything else).
I also do not have daily access to charging at home/overnight — like many people, I live in a condo/apartment building with no plug access (even 120v) in the garage, and no interest by the Homeowners’ Association/Landlord in changing that.
For the forseeable future, BEV’s and even most PHEV’s are really for people who live in single family homes or have reliable access to charging.
One note– I did read that even if a PHEV is never plugged in, because of the larger battery it will generally have substantially higher mpg than a regular hybrid.

Well hopefully, more and more employers will install 240 volt outlets for their employees to use while at work. That will help you apartment dwellers.

“One note– I did read that even if a PHEV is never plugged in, because of the larger battery it will generally have substantially higher mpg than a regular hybrid.”
That is only true in certain situations, mostly very hilly travels where you can capture more regen on the downhills than a hybrid can. For everything else, the PHEV gets slightly worse mpg due to the fact that you are dragging around a couple hundred pounds of dead weight in the batteries.

Great article David, it provides more depth and thought than we typically see.

One question which wasn’t addressed however is the societal impacts of BEVs verses PHEVs. If we make the assumption that CO2 is undesirable, which works better in reducing CO2? Will consumers be more likely to jump all the way to a BEV, a radical change. Or is it better to offer a PHEV that allows some electrification without dramatic changes in lifestyle? I think the biggest issue affecting this question is the state of national electric infrastructure. Is it ready to support the demands of widespread adoption of EVs? Putting it another way, the PHEV is the bridge to the future, or are we there yet?

I just want to throw hydrogen (or methane) fuel cells into the ring: PHFCEV

IMO, a vehicle with, say, a good 100 mile electric range (30 kWh or something) plus a fuel cell and accompanying tank would be ideal. You wouldn’t even need that big of a tank, because you only need it on long distance trips and can refuel in 5 minutes. In comparison to an ICE PHEV you get the benefit of no moving parts and higher efficiency.

Day-to-day: pure EV driving with empty H2 tank, charge at home.
Long distance: Stop every 300 miles for a quick refuel.

Best of both worlds!
(INB4: bUt tHEre iS No iNFrAstRucTURe)

IF hydrogen were to ever take off, as in, we had such an excess of renewable power that the inherent inefficiencies were negligible, I could see having dedicated hydrogen cars like the Mirai or Clarity, and then a full range of BEVs. For the majority of the population, just renting a hydrogen vehicle would be more practical than carrying around a ton of dead weight with a fuel cell and all while just commuting. HOWEVER, with battery advancements and even with current battery technologies, an expanded infrastructure will probably make the advantage of quick-refueling a much smaller advantage. With cars with ranges in the 300-400 mile range, you’re getting to the point where most humans are going to have to stop and rest or at least use the bathroom, at which point an extensive fast-charging infrastructure will be able to reliably recharge a car significantly. I’m not saying a half hour for lunch, but going to the bathroom and stretching your legs should at least take 10 minutes. Additionally, you could make multiple stops for just a few minutes, but “top-off” the battery a little bit at each of these stops for 5-10 minutes while you use the bathroom or… Read more »

Sorry, but how is carrying a ton of dead weight in batteries better than carrying a “ton” of dead weight in fuel cell/tank?

It’s not any better. The idea is that consumers should have the options to purchase cars that best fit their usage case. It’s why some EVs are available with different sized packs. The problem is that people purchasing vehicles will want the comfort of knowing that their extreme-usage case will be covered if and when it ever even occurs. Where it makes more sense to carry around a little extra battery is that having a larger battery and not cycling it as deeply will allow the battery to last longer, and hopefully still have enough useful capacity to be used in a stationary application after the rest of the vehicle has fallen apart. In addition, hydrogen systems have an “expiration date” after which the tanks and various components must be replaced because of hydrogen embrittlement. A battery may lose capacity, but aside from a serious failure, it will still be able to function. In the end, it’s all about reducing consumption. If batteries can be reused and recycled after their vehicle life, it means less batteries and less resources need to be produced. Those tanks for hydrogen gas can’t just be refurbished; you actually have to replace the tank which… Read more »

Too bad hydrogen is so expensive to produce/transport/store, that it literally costs the equivalent of paying 15$ per gallon of gasoline, totally unsustainable. Hydrogen is used heavily in industry, including in large part for refining fossil fuels, so if there was a vastly better and cheaper way to produce it as the hydrogen proponents keep saying, then it would already be cheaper. Not to mention that fuel cells are incredibly expensive to manufacture (more than just building a bigger battery).
Currently the very small number hydrogen cars that are available (as lease only might I add) come with $15K worth of free fuel (compliments of you and me as taxpayers), after that, they are so expensive to refuel that they are unaffordable to any normal middle class person, hence why they are lease only, they exist purely for automakers to get their clean air credits.

Where do you get that number? In germany, 1 kg of hydrogen costs around 10 € with which you can drive 100 km. This cost is comparable to gasoline, not quite diesel.

Clarity PHEV is the new benchmark (not taking in mind it’s weird looks)
I hope next gen Optima PHEV, Sonata PHEV, Outlander PHEV will have the same range on battery

It will vary case by case, state by state, country by country. Of course, all of that is out if you are mainly in it for the heart of the environment. Most people are not though, for most people it’s mostly about everything else and perhaps partly about the environment.

No single formula or chart can cover it.

Six months of ownership of a Model 3 has made me a believer. I will put 20k miles on the car due to frequent work/family trips. Despite that I’m finding that the car charges over 98 percent of the time in the garage when I am sleeping. When I do need to visit a Tesla Supercharger its no big deal – they are 50-100 miles apart just about everywhere and I use them to add just enough charge to get home and plug in. The Model 3 drives like a dream – quiet, smooth, instant torque, superior handling. It gets better over time due to over-the air updates. It is the only thing I have ever purchased that gives me joy. When I have to get in my wife’s boxy SUV it feels like going back in time. I don’t mean to be unkind but her car now has all the appeal of a farm tractor. Tesla has bench tested the M3 drive unit to 1 million miles with no issues (it has something like 23 moving parts). The battery will effectively last forever. What ICE car can do these things? The way I look at cost is to figure… Read more »

Because it’s a sedan? It’s useless for carting large dogs around, or other big items. If the form factor were hatch, wagon, or SUV, then I’d agree.

While the Model 3 is an excellent car, different people have different needs that it may not fit. I come from a large family, and we had a suburban just to haul everyone around. A Model 3 isn’t a practical vehicle in all situations, but if there were vehicles with the same Model 3 capability and reliability, it would be that obvious of a choice for most consumers. I totally understand your point, though. I drive a Volt because I only use it to commute, and 99.9% of my trips are driving solo, so I really don’t need a bigger vehicle. I don’t use any gas on my commute, charge at work for free, and I was able to take a road trip cross-country this summer with it without worrying at all. I bought the car used for under $10k, and it fits my needs for now. Of course, a Tesla is my next choice to upgrade to, but for those with different situations, wouldn’t a PHEV that can do 80%-90% of its driving with zero emissions be better than replacing it with a complete ICE vehicle until there’s a “perfect” alternative years down the road? It’s a short term… Read more »

For maximum efficiency, and therefore lowest polluting, you should only carry around as much battery as you need. So, all else being equal, if your commute is short, a smaller battery makes more sense.

That is why the Prius Prime is one of the most efficient electric cars in the world when driven in electric mode. It will go further on a watt hour of power than even a Leaf, or BMW i3, or a Tesla Model 3.

So it is a very efficient car for people with short commutes. That gets back to which the statement that the best car depends on your individual driving patterns.

A PHEV like the Prius Prime works great for retirees or people with 30 mile round trip commutes. It’s really the only sane answer for at least eight years. I am pure EV in all my errands in town. Then if I want to hop up and drive 4 states away to see a grandkid, no worries. Multiple systems a problem? Cars today are complex. ALL cars.

Plugin hybrid all the way. You know why? Think! Don’t just blabber.

Unfortunately the only EREV, the Volt, was just killed by GM, all that’s left in the market are PHEVs. The Volt was a true electric, it only needs it’s engine for range extension, plugin hybrids use their engines even when the battery has charge in it. The simple test for the difference between an EREV vs a PHEV is to put your foot to the floor, a Volt takes off but it’s engine doesn’t, a PHEV turns on it’s engine. The i3 REX technically is also an EREV however with only a two gallon tank it’s range is barely extended. I’ve done 450 miles in a day in my Volt without stopping for gas or plugging in, that’s true range extension. That said, the argument for range extended vehicles comes down to charging infrastructure. There has to be enough chargers so that you can count on them being available which requires a lot of redundancy in the system, we are far far away from that. I went to the movies on Sunday and was hoping to plug my Volt in which would have guaranteed that I could do the whole trip on battery, unfortunately the mall I went to had… Read more »

There is always something you are carrying around you don’t need all the time when you drive.

With a PHEV you carry around an ICE you don’t always use.
With a long range EV you carry around extra battery.
With any more than 1 seat, you carry around extra seats if you commute alone.
empty car trunks and pickup beds are just empty space being carted around.
Heck, even having 4 wheels is carrying around more than you need all the time.

Until they come up with modular vehicles where you only bring along the parts you need for your day, we’ll always carry around extra stuff that we don’t need except some of the time.

Until then, vehicle purchases will always be a trade-off of what you are willing to live without that you might need just some of the time.

EV people will never admit they forgot to plug-in overnight and couldn’t get to work the next morning.

EV people don’t forget to plug. It becomes automatic.

Perfect response, just as I expected and you took the bait. EV people never ADMIT they forgot to plug-in overnight. lol

I have never forgotten to plug in – not even once. Like I said, it is automatic. It’s the first thing I do after exiting the vehicle.

But I am amazed by your ability to know what others do.

“EV people” have enough range to get to work, even in the rare event that they forget to plug in. With today’s EVs, many people can drive all week without plugging in.

Outstanding article. My personal preference is a BEV, but I currently own a PHEV for some of the very reasons David Murray mentions. I own the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and the reasons I chose this particular vehicle were: 1. I will not consider a vehicle without a plug. While my preference is BEV, I obviously will make exceptions with the right model. 2. My primary reason for choosing the Outlander PHEV was the SUV body. I’m getting older, and my knees can’t take climbing up and down into/from a vehicle. The Outlander is very comfortable, rides high and still offers 20+ miles of EV range. Now double that range please Mitsubishi – and add a little zip to the EV drive. Our other car (wife’s vehicle) is the Chevy Bolt. So many things to love about this car (except the small, hard seats). When my wife allows me to drive it, I especially love the one pedal driving (I almost never had to brake) and the quick response that made driving fun again. And of course, you got to love the lack of maintenance (oil changes, etc). Looking forward to the day we have additional choices in BEV in… Read more »
Something to bear in mind: Generally, consumer cars these days have a service life of 10 years or more, assuming you aren’t leasing and hold onto your vehicles. Well, by 2030 we’ll likely be into the BEV era in a serious way. Battery prices will be low enough that ICEs will be like VCRs and tube TVs; old tech that everyone dumped before it wore out. The currently-pervasive petroleum distribution system will be dying, as will the supply chains and service networks that keep ICE vehicles repaired. BEVs will come with a minimum of 200 miles range, with most having considerably more. Resale value of used ICE will be near zero (much like the resale value of used tube TVs today). Lastly, ICE bans will be taking effect in more and more cities worldwide. By that point, a PHEV with 25-50 miles electric range will be a joke. It’ll be getting harder and harder to find fuel or service, so the petrol range will be on its way to irrelevance. PHEVs will be a curiosity, an artifact of the long-past ICE-to-BEV transition. And this should happen within the expected service lives of PHEVs bought new today. Nearly all the discussion… Read more »

While true about the timing, the ICE vehicles are already a joke. 39 MPG from the next RAV4 hybrid offering 219 hp and AWD starting at $28,000 is great. Yet, people buy that old tech anyway.

Well done! Nicely put together.

One more thing I would like to add, that all of these cars, PHEVs, EVs and even regular hybrids save gas, save the environment. So depending on your needs any of one of these cars will help to reduce air pollution. And isn’t this the ultimate goal??? EVs, PHEVs are just the means.
With the price of EV still too steep for many I see a lot of plug-ins for the next 5-10 years. I bet a “stripped down” $25,000 EV would be a hot seller. By stripped down I mean, keep it 21st century safe, but cut the non-essential techno stuff, like glass roof and auto pilot.

“I don’t expect any of these products to sell in numbers greater than 25,000 per year. This is because a PHEV will always cost more than a standard ICE vehicle.” Actually, The new generation of BYD Tang PHEV had been sold for more than 30,000 in numbers within half a year since it’s lunch in June 2018 in China. The sales are even projected to rise in 2019.

If it’s got a gas tank, it’s an ICE. Period.
Hybrids are better than full on ICE, but they are variations on the ICE vehicle, not EVs. And they will be disappearing quickly. As are believers in the erroneous first statement this article starts with.
Any car company that bets the future based on Mr. Murray’s myopic vision will die.

One consideration is the weight/efficiency ratio.
If you can do 75% of your driving on battery, the weight of frame and bigger battery to support extra miles would offset efficiency then you found the sweet spot. More isn’t always better.
Notice the Prius prime has a payload of 650 lbs. Don’t expect it to be a SUV but I love the effecency for getting me where I want to go.
Another advantage of the PHEV is that when the ICE runs it usually gets up to temperature. Short cycles with a cold engine kills the life of an ICE.

Great Article! I recently went from a Nissan Leaf (3 yr lease) to a purchased KIA NIRO PHEV Crossover. I am quite impressed with the NIRO. I opted for the high end model with all the safety features. My work is a 20 mile round trip and offers free L2 charging. I have a 100% solar home, thus free charging there as well. I specifically wanted a PHEV since I travel to visit family several time a year and it’s a 1,000 mile round trip. Plus, addition family involves a 2,000 mile round trip less frequently. The NIRO PHEV was a perfect fit for me. I can go over 3 months on a tank of gas (12 gallons) and the crossover has plenty of interior space. For my situation, a single vehicle was the answer.

Ideally a PHEV should have a 50-70 miles of EV range, and it should be a BEV with a smaller battery (15-25Kwh) offset by a 50-70Kw generator. And it should be engineered to easily and affordably transition to full BEV once, battery range and charging infrastructure will be optimal.
However, such ideal PHEV will unlikely materialize. As carmakers wish you to buy a PHEV now, and a BEV in a few years.
One thing often manifesting in these forums is that most contributors and readers don’t seem to realize that California, Norway are not the norm. There are large chunks of the world out there where a charging infrastructure is still several years away from being even acceptable

50-70 Kw generator??? you might want to think about how realistic that is. It goes well-beyond a pipe-dream. There is likely to be some huge breakthrough in battery thechnology long before that will ever happen. ” such ideal PHEV will unlikely materialize” is certainly a safe satement.

TCO for an EV is already lower than a PHEV in many countries (depending on cost of gasoline and electricity).

Another reason to choose a PHEV over a BEV is if you are a one car family. We have a Tesla X as our main vehicle and a ten year old Lexus as our second vehicle. Very practical for a two car family as we can cover all our needs including occasional cross state road trips. If we were a one car family I would have chosen a PHEV.