Even though plug-in hybrids, or PHEVs for short, are nothing more than transitional models used by manufacturers to get the emissions down for their entire range, we’re still stuck with them for at least another decade. Most are the definition of compliance cars, vehicles created with the sole purpose of keeping automakers from paying the hefty fines incurred by exceeding a certain emissions threshold for all cars they sell.
Manufacturers are now flooding the market with plug-in hybrids, some purely focused on efficiency, while others are said to have performance enhancing benefits on top of their superior green credentials (compared to a traditional ICE vehicle, of course). All the German premium brands are doing it, as are most of the mainstream Euro manufacturers and plenty of Asian automakers are also leaning on PHEVs for the reason mentioned above.
Hyundai and Kia also sell plenty of PHEVs too, yet the group’s new luxury brand, Genesis, has decided to skip PHEVs completely and just offer either ICE vehicles or fully-electric versions of the same vehicles. In fact, the manufacturer wants to have ICE and EV versions of basically all the models in their range, not counting the Genesis GV, the sister vehicle to the newly revealed Hyundai Ioniq 5 (which will be electric-only).
The official reason why Genesis is skipping PHEVs is that they just don’t fit with the marque’s forward-thinking image. Making PHEVs would also mean diverting resources that could have been spent on pure-electric vehicles, and Genesis just isn’t interested, it seems.
Gallery: 2021 Genesis eG80 EV
But then why are most other manufacturers, even Hyundai, the company behind Genesis, still launching new PHEVs? Well, it’s because PHEVs are cheaper to engineer compared to an EV, which usually requires a brand new dedicated platform that would not accommodate an internal-combustion engine (not a strict rule, though, as there are some platforms that are good for ICE, hybrid, PHEV and EV).
Making a PHEV is basically electrifying the cars they were already going to sell because it’s cheaper than reengineering them from the ground-up with electrification in mind. Yet Genesis, a new manufacturer with not a lot of history or tradition in making any type of vehicle, really, is just not going to make PHEVs at all.
This, in spite of the fact that a few years ago, the company announced that it was, in fact, going to make PHEVs. The first plug-in hybrids were supposed to be added to the Genesis lineup in 2019, yet they never came and then we learned that the manufacturer had abandoned them altogether, thanks to a statement by Genesis’ American CEO, Mark Del Rosso.
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Now Genesis has a whole slew of EVs lined up. If it launches all the models it has trademarked names for, then it could have no fewer than seven full EVs in its range within the next few years. The automaker has trademarked the G70e, G80e, G90e, GV60, GV70e, GV80e and GV90e names and looking at how things have evolved so far, there’s a good chance all will actually be used.
So what is your take on Gensis’ approach. Is ditching PHEVs and going straight to making pure-EVs the way to go, or are the other manufacturers on the right train with their barrage of new plug-in hybrid variants of their existing ICE models? It certainly seems like a more simple approach, but then why aren’t other manufacturers doing the same and spending time and resources coming up with PHEVs?