Germans Pull Plug On Selling PHEVs In Europe Due To WLTP



Some need more range to stay eligible for subsidies.

Europe’s second-best selling plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is the Volkswagen Passat GTE. Or, at least, it was. According to Automotive News, the automaker stopped selling it and the number four-ranked Golf GTE due to the advent of new emissions regulations known as the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), which replaces the previous the New European Driving Cycle ( NEDC). They are not alone, either.

BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz have also terminated sales of some plug-in hybrid models. The problem, basically, is that they score higher than 50 grams of CO2 per kilometer due, mainly, to having too small a battery and therefore not enough electric range. In Germany, buyers of vehicles with less than 50g/km of CO2 are eligible for a 3,000-Euro ($3,476) subsidy, and so a PHEV scoring worse than that mark becomes that much more unattractive.

The sales halt may be temporary, for some models at least. Automakers will need to decide whether the cost involved in engineering a larger battery pack will pay off in the long run. One such model in this quandary is the E-Hybrid line of the Porsche Panamera. Responsible for as much as 69 percent of Panamera sales in Western Europe, according to industry publication AID, it has been withdrawn, along with the Cayenne E-Hybrid.

Not all manufacturers allowed themselves to be caught flat-footed by the change. Mitsubishi brought its Outlander PHEV down to 46 g/km of CO2 after changing, among other things, its 12 kWh battery pack to one with capacity for 13.8 kWh.

For its part, BMW hasn’t stopped all its offending PHEVs. It still features its 225xe Active Tourer minivan on its German site despite its 57 g/km of CO2 score. It has taken the new standards into consideration with its new models, though. When it arrives in 2019, the xDrive 45e plug-in hybrid version of the X5 will feature a bigger battery, upping its range to 80 km (50 miles) from a mere 31 km (19.2 miles) previously. The change will allow it to slip under the wire with a 49 gm/km of CO2 rating.

Source: Automotive News

Categories: BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Volkswagen

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52 Comments on "Germans Pull Plug On Selling PHEVs In Europe Due To WLTP"

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These regulations are exactly what are needed to get these “lip service” PHEVs off the road. Perhaps this will encourage the LICE industry to dump the suck-squeeze-bang-blow pollution device altogether.

I don’t know an X5, with 50 miles of electric range, and electric Torque, is very appealing. I hope they continue this trend. I’d like to see that in an X3, my wife would pull the trigger, except that we’d like to see what the i4 will deliver to the market.

Global battery capacity isn’t great enough to convert all fleets to electric tomorrow.

You’re right, the micro-particle cancer spreaders should be off the market too.

These cars will be worthless out of warranty. Tread lightly.

Yes it is excellent to have a 5000 pound X5 with such a huge AER. 30 miles would be remarkable. 50 miles would be unbelievable. For a heavy vehicle with low economy on gas to be supplemented by such a large AER is very significant. A 50-mile full size SUV is more impressive than an 80 mile AER Chevy Volt.

That will presumably be 50 miles WLTP though — so still less than the Volt.

Also, larger vehicles have more room for batteries — so I wouldn’t say it’s more impressive on the whole…

It’s true though that a SUV getting <50 g/km makes more of a difference than a smaller vehicle getting <50 g/km 🙂

Yelp. Get rid of those low 10s Aer Phev

German automotive engineering. Used to be about making excellent cars. For the past decade-plus, it’s all about gaming the system.
It’s starting to cost them and they are still not getting the message.

That’s a good point. Game the system with diesel. Game the system with 10 mile PHEVs.

Regulators need to set good ground rules and modify if they get gamed.

we already know VW group will be using bigger batteries for PHEVs as they are coming in future Skoda Phevs.

“In Germany, buyers of vehicles with less than 50g/km of CO2 are eligible for a 3,000-Euro ($3,476) subsidy, and so a PHEV scoring worse than that mark becomes that much more unattractive.”

The limit of 50 grams of CO2 (per km) should be lowered to:
• 40 grams of CO2 (per km) as from 2020;
• 30 grams of CO2 (per km) as from 2021;
• 20 grams of CO2 (per km) as from 2022;
• 10 grams of CO2 (per km) as from 2023.

It’s not like EVs are zero CO2; you need to look at the electric source. Except for France with its +/- 70% nuclear electricity there are a lot of fossil fuels (including substantial coal) burned to make electricity in Europe.

Both part of the chain must be non-CO2, but it makes no sense to look down on one because the other falters


Depends. UK is mostly off coal already; Sweden never had much to begin with; etc.

You thought there aren’t CO2 emissions involved in the gasoline/diesel supply chain? Think again.

You can’t predict the CO2 emissions of an EV. How many EV buyers have their own solar panels to power the car CO2 free? How clean will the grid become over the lifetime of the car?

It’s so frustrating to see something coming from so far away and then have auto makers still not react in time. Everyone has know for years what WLTP would mean! Everyone knew that these half-assed excuses for PHEVs would end up obsolete and unsellable if they didn’t continually improve them, but NOOO, far better to always just do the bare minimum, just barely squeaking in under the regulatory wire and then acting all surprised when some progressive jurisdiction like China or, in this rare case Europe, improves emissions regulations LIKE THEY SAID THEY WOULD!


“Progressive jurisdiction like China” Thanks for the laugh my friend!
China is doing it so they can finally force everyone to compete with their cars, because Chinese carmakers failed to be a competition with their ICEs.

Well, yes (and the irony of calling China progressive didn’t escape me), but the ends justify the original motivation in this case, I think. If the Europeans can’t build competitive cars, maybe they should try building better cars (to paraphrase the German economy minister).

Look, the makers are waiting until 2019 because they wan’t to lower their emissions. Why they do that, why they want to pollute more?. Because they must to reduce the emissions from that point in a 15 percentage for 2020, so if they starts from a low value, they will have more difficulties to achieve the goals in the future.
UE Comission adverted a few weeks ago to the automakers that it will be strict with the bad practics, like use lower presions during WLTP homologation process and other tricks, to obtain a worst data now, but that will be more easy to improve the next years. The UE is watching over the trouble, but nobody can force the makers to put in the market new efficient cars in 2018, instead 2019.

You can read here better explained, I’m not english native and maybe I can’t be more clear in my explanation. 😉

Probably next year in Europe we will see a “boom” of new models that will help to get the new emissions and electrified models objetives as regulations demand.

Naw, that’s a good explanation 😉 I’d heard that something like that was going on.

Thanks. I was thinking in another issue that may has relation. In Europe, the cars with more than 40 km in electric mode, has “zero emissions” stamp, so they have some benefits in lot of cities, for example in Madrid they can park for free unlimited in the center of the city, use the bus-lane or they are free of city taxes, as they were EVs. Due all PHEV were not so more much range in electric mode than 40 km, maybe with the harder WLTP homologation, they can’t achieve that minimun and must to apply other modifications to accomplish the norm, as bigger batteries.

Alternatively it may be that with tens/hundreds of models affected they have had to prioritise changes to more popular models.

What’s not mentioned in the article is that there is currently a large backlog with lots of cars from lots of manufacturers, with many optional extras being scrapped for the time being as they haven’t been tested under the WLTP rules. It’s not just PHEV’s, rather all cars in their respective stables.

In that situation it makes sense to concentrate on the best selling/most profitable vehicles first, then come back to the less profitable/low volume vehicles at a later date, when there is time to modify them.

That hardly applies, if 69% of Panamera sales were PHEV…

I’m talking generally, not for specific vehicles. They’ll be a variety of reasons depending on the specific vehicle, as it seems the original article discusses (just not the insideEV one).

With WLTP you have to measure each possible configuration you want to sell. Different seat, different weight new test. Different rims, new test.
It will greatly reduce the choices the buyer has but it stops the manufacturer from configuring the test cars for better test results.

Well, that’s what capitalism is.

Looks like a temporary step back before they can make a few steps forward.
This will affect the Volvo PHEVs too.
I assume Prius Prime meets the standard.
Any others affected?

The source article addresses Volvo like this.
“Volvo, maker of the third-best-selling plug-in hybrid vehicle with the XC60 crossover, sells its plug-in hybrids with WLTP certification — but its vehicles are rated above 50g/km of CO2.”

So, it sounds like they are still offering them. It’s just that they may not be eligible for some incentives.

3000 do not really matter at the price level of the Panamera or XC90.

“The Prime features 133 MPG-e and 25-miles of electric range. Based on the CO2 lifetime emission study conducted by ASG, the Prime holds a mere 181 grams CO2-e emissions per mile driven over it’s life”

There is another aspect to conider as well. Audi is currently under investigation for cheating in plug-ins, too. In order to artificially boost the fuel efficiency in the WLTP test, a next generation defeat device recognizes if the vehicle is currently tested in a standardized test, removing certain safety thresholds in BMS that are in place during normal driving that prevent the battery from draining all energy down to a state that may be harmful for battery life or deliver extra power, just so the ICE doesn’t kick in as it would result in unfavorable outcome of the test. Should be worthwhile investigating for US authorities, as it also affects the range and tax credit…

Do you have a link to a source for that? It’s very interesting to know indeed…

Well, of course I have, I would not make false accusations.
A high ranking VW manager confessed it to authorities when questioned in the matter.
A3 PHEV in US is definitely affected, and they tried to cover it up in the cars on the road during routine maintenance checks, where they removed the software so investigations would become more difficult. (I bet they wish now that they had introduced OTA when Tesla did…)
News can be found in Wirtschaftswoche, they usually have solid info before they come out with a story.

These guys certainly never stop innovating… 😉

Audi’s slogan is “Vorsprung durch Technik” (leadership through technology) , so they are leading again …… during the last years ICE consumption & CO2-emission testing was done with “golden cars” e.g. specially prepared : drag efficiency measured with taped off doors, alternator disconnected, small tires baked in the oven, rubber grind off for roll-resistance reduction etc…

And the NEDC and WLTP measurement of PHEV is still not calculating the battery KWh content but only gasoline consumption. So squeezing a few KWh more out of the battery by charging 100% and draining to zero on the test-lab cycle is bringing down the CO2 per 100km below 50g, so beside 3000 Euro rebate this also reduces the CO2 level of the entire fleet to reduce EU penalty payments for too high CO2 emission of the fleet.

Quick googling yields no mention of this that I can find, and it would certainly be big news on EV sites as well as elsewhere.
Like Anti-Lord Kelvin asked, link?

Where is this happening? You are the only one reporting this as far as google finds hits.

Well, of course I have a link, I would not make false accusations.
Sometimes google does not know everything yet.
A high ranking VW manager confessed it to authorities when questioned in the matter.
A3 PHEV in US is definitely affected, and they tried to cover it up in the cars on the road during routine maintenance checks, where they removed the software so investigations would become more difficult. (I bet they wish now that they had introduced OTA when Tesla did…)
News can be found in Wirtschaftswoche, they usually have solid info before they come out with a story.

The reason detailed here is incorrect. The carmakers have trouble to get the models certified under the new standard, which is a problem not only with their PHEVs, the issue is NOT that they don’t get the incentives!

My reading of the source is that it’s both. Some cars are not certified yet, and some cars might not be due to the higher CO2-number.

My understand was however the the industry countries on the NEDC numbers still being base for tax/incentives.

The 3000 Euro is not the main driver for Porsche Panamera or Mercedes buyers anyway.

Beside this 3000 Euro incentive those luxury brands are wrestling to bring the CO2 consumption of the fleet down to avoid hefty EU penalties. Using PHEV, as the battery KWh is not calculated as consumption at all, come out of the test cycle with figures of 2 liter per 100km (118 mpg) gasoline consumption. So just a few token PHEV and BEV reduce the fleet CO2 emission significantly.

Good. Those 10 mile-range PHEVs are lame. People are not going to even bother plugging them in.

75km + in the winter would be really good.

They’re all coming with a larger battery soon. And then again, it will be larger 2-4 years after that again. . And then. . Most cars will be electric.

I love WLTP.

New battery chemistries and factories in europe mean they will be restarted with a mdel year change.

These emission and range tests are illogical. The only way this should be tested is with the fuel tank system run from full to empty. So the emissions and range standards would be based on the x sized battery full to empty, and the y sized fuel tank from full to empty. How far could that combination go? How much emissions did it make? Easily tested on a dynamo.
Now that is the worst case scenario (or maybe not if the battery never gets any use, highly unlikely) and that is what could be expected.
Now if you do x battery range the daily commute you will get a better result. Doing it this way all vehicles are tested exactly the same and there is real incentives to make improvements. Not this situation we have at the moment where cheating can happen because the test is only for a very short and controlled situation, not the full to empty situation.

WIth batteries getting cheaper and better at lightning speed and supercharging becoming ubiquitous, nobody will bother with buying an extra ICE in their EV’s. Why pay extra for a mountain of complexity?

PHEV’s won’t be a thing anymore after 2020 or so. Maybe they can stretch it to 2022.

You can compare it to hybrid laptops, which have a 1 TB hard drive next to a small 128 GB SSD. As SSDs have become better and cheaper, laptop makers don’t bother anymore to create hybrid solutions and just use a larger 256 or 512 GB SSD.

“But hey, that’s still too small for all my photos, music and videos!” –> Cloud services, which compares to superchargers for electric cars.

“BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz have also terminated sales of some plug-in hybrid models… due, mainly, to having too small a battery and therefore not enough electric range.”

Great news! Finally the plug is being pulled on some of these hybrids with minuscule range, which hardly deserve the label “Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle.” Hopefully they will be replaced with cars more worthy of the PHEV designation.

A reminder rhat ICE makers will kill pheir plugins at any time