Be Wary Of Legacy Automakers Touting “Electrified” Cars


OCT 10 2017 BY EVANNEX 52


Be wary of the latest hustle from Big Auto — some crafty wordplay surrounding ‘electrified’ vehicles (Image: Motor Sport)


There’s still a lot of confusion about the different types of electrified vehicles out there. National newspapers regularly mix up hybrids such as the Toyota Prius with pure electric cars such as Teslas. Government agencies and academics serve up an ever-growing alphabet soup of acronyms (HEVs, PEVs, BEVs, FCVs, ULEVs, PZEVs and many more). It’s no wonder consumers are clueless.

To be fair, there is no official definition of the distinction between the “electric” and the merely “electrified.” However, those in the electric vehicle (EV) industry reserve the term “electric” for a pure EV, which has no internal combustion engine. Hybrids, plug-in hybrids and EVs collectively are referred to as “electrified vehicles.”

Another rapidly growing category of electrified vehicles consists of “mild hybrids,” which are combustion-engine vehicles that incorporate gas-saving features such as start/stop or regenerative braking. Automakers have been developing these technologies for years, and they are expected to be incorporated into almost all vehicles before long. This is a stepping-stone on the way to electrification, but it’s a far cry from a pure electric vehicle.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris.


Although Tesla clearly has a first mover advantage here, charts like these make it appear that other automakers are aggressively going all-electric — just be sure to read the fine print (Image: Forbes via BMI Research)

When Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover recently announced that all their vehicles would be electrified within a few years, they were including mild hybrids in that forecast. This is important news, but despite what many media outlets reported, it does notmean that these automakers have any plans to phase out internal combustion engines.

So, are carmakers taking steps to end the confusion? Not a bit of it. The legacy automakers have always been keen to trumpet their electric bona fides, but have shown much less interest in actually selling electric vehicles. A recent article in Jalopnik surmises that the companies are happy to exploit the confusion about terms in order to make themselves appear greener than they really are.


Recent headlines might suggest the industry is finally going all-electric, but Big Auto’s actual plans can be slippery and the real news “lost in translation” (Reddit: jasteinerman)

Even automakers don’t use the same definition of “electrified,” but most make frequent use of the term in their press releases. Jaguar says all its new vehicles will be electrified from 2020. Audi says its new A8 will “feature an electrified powertrain as standard.” Ford says it will offer electrified versions of the Transit, Mustang and F-150 by 2020. Even Honda, which rivals Fiat in its utter lack of interest in selling electric vehicles, claims that “two thirds of European sales [will] feature electrified powertrains by 2025.”

As you’ve probably guessed by now, these news items are not talking about electric vehicles, or even hybrid vehicles, but rather about mild hybrid features to be incorporated into gas vehicles.

Above: Understanding the differences between electric and electrified vehicles (Source: CNN Money)

As Jalopnik points out, “electrified” is really just a buzzword, designed to make it sound like a brand is keeping pace with the latest and greatest technology (so you needn’t take a chance on an unproven upstart like Tesla).

With the legacy automakers deliberately sowing confusion, EV advocates in government and the media need to make more of an effort to educate consumers, and clearly describe the different types of electrified powertrains on the market today. A recent video from CNN Money spells it out in simple terms that even the most technically challenged should be able to understand.

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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52 Comments on "Be Wary Of Legacy Automakers Touting “Electrified” Cars"

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I’m starting to think that Toyota intentionally design the prius to be ugly to scare off us Americans from buying evs

Of course they do.

GM needs to re-electrified the Pontiac Aztec to really scare the EV buyers away from Tesla

they did.
That bolt is very aztec like.

Well, still better looking than Model X.

Model X is the ugliest crossover on the market today now that Honda Crosstour/Acura ZDX is no more…

In your dreams! The Bolt designers were probably half blind.

Yeah… the Model X is a sweet looking vehicle!!

You just don’t appreciate Japanese Anime culture that for many Asian people this look is futuristic. The problem is that the USA and the West through to Europe hold a different aesthetic norm.
Maybe they will have to do the Honda route:
Euro Accord vs ugly American Accord.
They could do the American Toyota Prius vs the Japanese space oddity cartoon Prius to satisfy all markets.

I do hope you are not saying that US tastes in car design are the same or even similar to European ones…?!

I can’t think of a *single* good-looking American-designed car, *ever* (until Tesla came on the scene)!!

WIth the exception of the French, European car design has generally been *by far* the most stylish and attractive in the history of auto manufacture. Just my opinion, of course…

You are confused as the Prius models are not EVs but hybrids and one a plug-in-hybrid. BTW the Prius is a huge seller!

You can always count on legacy car makers to be deceptive in advertising. You have to be when you build and sell a product that poisons people to death. They have been doing it since the beginning. A great example is the GM and Dupont coverup of Leaded fuel poisoning.

Yes, Tesla has never been deceptive at all… … …

If you consider being late in optimistic deadlines, yes they are… But it doesn’t compare, nowhere near crushing entire fleets of good cars because they were EVs in 2003, or repeatedly promising 12 hybrid models for 2012 to Obama and never deliver them, like GM did in 2009.
Or announce vaporware over and over for years from the german car makers… or making lousy range EVs to be sure they will never gain momemtum, etc.

The car crushing thing is quite a sob story until you realize the cars were more than people could afford, and more than the company could maintain. It just made no financial sense.

I used to be angry at the big automakers for a long time about that too, until I did a lot more research into the whole ordeal beyond just watching “Who Killed the Electric Car”

ClarksonCote said:

“Yes, Tesla has never been deceptive at all…”

Seriously, just what are you talking about? Elon puts out a lot of hype, but when it comes to actually using deceptive business practices, you practically have to get out a microscope to see anywhere that Tesla has been genuinely deceptive.

Could you be talking about the case where Tesla claimed a HP (HorsePower) rating for one of its cars, which turned out to be adding the HP rating of two motors together, ignoring the fact that the battery pack couldn’t provide that much power?

If so, that’s like complaining the molehill is too tall while ignoring the mountains, such as the “clean diesel” hoax and GM’s ignition switch scandal.

I own a Tesla, a big Model X. Best car I’ve ever owned and it ain’t close and I’ve bought many over the years. It’s also the fastest car I’ve ever owned. The technology is amazing. Biggest hassle I have is friends and neighbors wanting me to show it to them, take them for rides, the pushier ones wanting to drive it.

I’ve owned several sports cars. Nothing can touch the Model X and mine isn’t equipped with Ludicrous Mode. When I floor the thing from a standing stop — and everyone I give a test drive to wants me to do it — eyes bug out as they’re thrown back into their seats.

Horsepower smorsepower. Teslas flat fly, corner beautifully and handle great. Fantastic stereo too.

To start, anyone who still thinks the current Model 3 production isn’t a bonafide Beta test car is insane. You don’t make owners of cars sign NDAs.

But Elon said it would be fully production ready and production would ramp up a ton last month, which of course it did not.

Looking past biases it’s easy to see this sort of thing. I’ve been wanting Tesla to succeed since 2005, and I’m still rooting for them. But to blindly give them a free pass on this stuff does them more harm than good.

So you did never burn any sort of fuel at all? You do not buy plastic or other things made out of oil? You do not fly, you not use a bus? You do not use more resources than your fair share of the world allowes you? If you want attack carmakers on a moral basis, look at yourself first. In the end the customer decides, what is developed.

Hey now, this is America. We don’t take responsibility for our own actions, we point the finger at someone else.

Shame on you for suggesting otherwise. 😉

Yo, Ben, did we decided to be poisoned by leaded gasoline or it was just imposed on us? How long it took for us to fight it and get it banned? How many scientists got trashed and accused because they warned against the danger. How can you say customers can choose when there’s is only one choice?

And Clark, what’s with your constant obsession with Tesla. Go get help man before it’s too late.

Do I have a constant obsession with Tesla? I simply call out hypocrisy when I see it.

I would like all EV manufacturers to succeed but I’m not going to artificially put some on pedestals or make tin-foil hat conspiracies about others.

I have a long position in TSLA, doesn’t mean they don’t mislead people from time to time as well, and anyone who thinks they haven’t is kidding themselves.

You do realize that no one mentioned them in comments until you did, right?

While I realize there’s many instances where people go out of their way to mention Tesla, when a comment that paints a broad stroke of “You can always count on legacy car makers to be deceptive in advertising” there is really only one other automaker for consumer automobiles and that’s Tesla. My statement, sarcastic or not, was exactly the same statement the OP was making.

So I do not think that what I said was a huge stretch of the imagination from a thought progression standpoint by any means.

Perhaps you’re becoming a bit over-sensitive these days. I certainly have never picked on you in the comments section, though I know others have.

“My statement, sarcastic or not, was exactly the same statement the OP was making.”

No, the OP was about the Prius. It doesn’t mention Tesla or imply anything which suggests or point to Tesla. That was you.

And if we confuse you with a Tesla hater, perhaps it’s not because we are blind to the difference; perhaps it’s that you make it awfully hard to see the difference.

There are plenty of serial Tesla FUDsters posting here already. They don’t need your help.

“No, the OP was about the Prius. It doesn’t mention Tesla or imply anything which suggests or point to Tesla. That was you.”

No, the OP I’m referring to is the person I responded to, user 2013Volt, and they posted exactly what I stated. It was not about the Prius, it was a comment about all legacy automakers.

And the article itself also mentions Tesla 3 times and has Tesla all over the figures.

Sheesh, people are far too sensitive about Tesla on here. You give those Tesla hater trolls food to feed on, that’s for sure.

ClarksonCote said:

“Do I have a constant obsession with Tesla? I simply call out hypocrisy when I see it.”

You certainly do appear to have an obsession with Tesla, and a pretty negative one. There are plenty of people bashing Tesla here already; they certainly don’t need any help!

You claim to be an investor who supports Tesla? Well, with friends like you, Tesla doesn’t need enemies!

The difference is I call Tesla out when I think they’re doing something bad, I call people out when I think they’re giving Tesla a free pass, and I applaud Tesla when they’re doing something good (and they’re doing a lot of good things too).

That is not “Tesla bashing” it is simply objectivity.

“How long it took for us to fight it and get it banned?” When did you fight? Leaded fuel was used since WorldWar I, where it was needed to increase performance of fighter planes. And of course people were happy to enjoy better performing motors in their cars as well. Managing knock resistance and lubrication was not an easy task back then. Even if it was known to be extremely dangerous back than (many engineers died, while developing it), it was the best solution from a technical standpoint. There was no known alternative. Change came in the 70s, but as engineering and sales of cars is a slow process and as the lifespan of cars is long, it took a long time to get banned completely. For many years actually no one cared for the danger. It wasnt really an issue until the 70s. The lead industry was lobbying back then, which has to be criticized. From the end of the 70s there was an alternative, MTBE, which is as well poisonous. Today ethanol is used. It is the same for oil, gas and coal derived products today. We all know they are bad, but we use them nevertheless and… Read more »

“Companies do not want to poison anybody, they have just one goal, make a product, that sells.”
No, the goal is to sell the product even if it may hurt someone. There are countless of instances that refute your naive claim. The oil industry (under auto industry guidance) resisted change because it affected their bottom line, they could not care less if people get hurt. It is easier and cheaper to just buy the laws you need ratter than doing the research and ensure your product is safe. This is lead we are talking about here, we always knew the danger.

““Companies do not want to poison anybody, they have just one goal, make a product, that sells.”
No, the goal is to sell the product even if it may hurt someone.”

You just want to say no to everyone,right? Even if your view is not in opposition to mine.

Oh, there is a big difference, you just don’t see it. Try again.

You can always count on Evannex to continuously publish ridiculous pro-Tesla, anti everything else propaganda. Gee, I wonder why they so shamelessly continue to plug Tesla… ?? Pretty annoying. The legacy manufacturers seem to be the only ones that actually meet their stated deadlines, deliver the goods as promised and don’t practice bait and switch.

What were you saying about VW?

“Pretty annoying.”

No, what’s annoying is how Tesla stock short-sellers become serial Tesla bashers, making a hobby of writing Tesla hater comments to nearly every Tesla related article on InsideEVs.

If you really find pro-Tesla articles annoying, then there’s a very simple solution: Stop reading them and stop posting FUD about them!

Well, this very site has always added the sales of plug-in hybrids and EVs, so if it happens even here, what can you expect from the MSM?

PHEVs are EVs, what you’re calling EVs are BEVs. But I’ll say like you, if even the enthusiasts here conflate terms, so will MSM.

I can not see any confusion among customers. Everyone is looking at electric miles and not if it is called electric or electrified. Big auto is coming with speed in this area, cars which have their start of production in 1-2 years will definitively come to market as they have 80% of development already finished. If you write articles like these, you are not interested in the future of mobility, but want to scare people from other brands.
Evannex articles are biased in such an extreme way, that they need to be seen as a commercial.

You mean they finished drawing them 80%? I will believe it when I see it. 20 mile electric hybrid means nothing to me.

Evannax articles are commercials, period. If you have a problem with that, then stop reading them!

“I can not see any confusion among customers.”

Just customers? Heck, there’s a lot of confusion among people who post comments regularly to InsideEVs! Just look at how many continue to insist that “EV” only applies to passenger vehicle BEVs, and not PHEVs, HEVs, FCEVs, diesel-electric locomotives, boats, airplanes, or other types of EVs.

“Everyone is looking at electric miles and not if it is called electric or electrified.”

Hardly. There have been many reports posted here about how clueless the general public is about the various types of EVs. For example, they don’t understand that the Volt can continue to run even after the battery pack has been depleted.

The manufacturers aren’t merely happy to exploit the confusion, they are actively creating it.

Toyota is still running TV ads in Norway, where BEVs account for 25% of new car sales, that tell viewers that their hybrid not only is “50% electric”, but best of all, it “charges the battery automatically, with no need to be plugged in”. I don’t know how many percent of maximum *power* is delivered by the electric motor, but obviously 0% of the energy used by a hybrid without a plug is electricity and 100% is fossil fuel. The fact that Toyota doesn’t pay a price (in market goodwill and sales) for running such an extremely distorting ad, in a market so far along the EV adoption curve, is depressing and thought-provoking.

Expect incumbents to continue being dragged into EVs by demand, and above all pushed into them by regulations. There’s no real sign any of them are embracing the change. But change they will, and some, maybe many, will go under during this huge shift in the industry.

“Electrified” may be back-firing, since the term enables combustion engine bans.

After-all, it’s what they said.

I must admit I don’t understand the thinking allowing Hydrogen Powered cars to be the equal of Battery – Electric vehicles, although apparently this is to be exactly GM’s ongoing position – that is, all LARGE 100% electric vehicles will get 100% of their energy from a 10,000 PSI hydrogen hose.

Of course, its ‘in vogue’ to be ‘zero-emission’. So then we have totally ICED vehicles that are PZEV’s or Partially Zero Emission Vehicles (they even include a LEAF next to the escutcheon) – I can’t help but thinking this is to confuse people that the EV doesn’t mean Electrified Vehicle but Emission Vehicle.

Now, me, these future GM LARGE EV’s (and also the existing Clarity and Murai) are just as electric are a plain ten year old Toyota Prius. Its an ELECTRIC but all the juice ultimately comes from the Gasoline you put in it.

Seriously, how are vehicles like a Subaru Forester a PZEV? It’s kind of crazy how those CARB designations got so relaxed.

Their main reason that legacy companies are all having these death row revelations is mostly due to China, whereas they all got a reprieve, no 8% evs only, as China backed down due complaints/whining of said companies, but next year it’s 10%, and I don’t think the Chinese will step off that.

There should be only two categories, electric cars and hybrids. Volt, Prius, plug in cars with an extended range should all be hybrids. No partial credit handed out for having a bigger battery than the next guy but still carrying an ICE on baotd.

Luckily you don’t make the rules. and other data have proven the Gen 1 Volt offsets more gasoline use than the Leaf despite half the range, precisely because of the range extender.

Thank you.

What a lot of EV “purists” like to ignore is the fact that many or most people who own a BEV also own — and drive — a gasmobile. What advantage to having a “pure EV” BEV if that just means they’ll use the gasmobile more often, because that way they don’t have to worry about running out of “juice” on a long trip?

In the real world, black-and-white categories based on idealistic views of the world, rather than realistic ones, rarely work well.

Exactly. Someone else said it (here or on another article) but if every vehicle were converted to an extended-range one today, similar to the Volt, we’d offset a ton of gas, and the full BEV adoption would be imminent for sure.

The arguing about semantics on whether an EV has an engine to extend range after a depleted battery, or if someone prefers a BEV plus a whole other car with an engine, is insanity! 🙂

The Volt, i3 REX and other full performance on battery electric cars are just as much an EV as an iMiev, Smart ED, Leaf, and Tesla. The only difference is their all electric range.

This statement is BS, just propaganda that ignores a valid class within full performance EVs.
“However, those in the electric vehicle (EV) industry reserve the term “electric” for a pure EV, which has no internal combustion engine. Hybrids, plug-in hybrids and EVs collectively are referred to as “electrified vehicles.” “

I don’t worry about nomenclature excessively – while purists discount vehicles such as the VOLT because it carries around an occasionally used 4-cylinder engine and gasoline, most owners of the VOLT have decreased their gasoline consumption to only 1/10th of what they used in a previous gasoline-only car.

It is rather like saying a pure BEV isn’t really electric if it is recharged in Hawaii since the electricity still substantially comes from Diesel Generators – although this is rapidly changing since Solar, Wind, and Batteries keep getting more cost-effective by the day.

I’m not sure what has happened at IEVs… I have been saying your general editorial trait of confusing EVs with hybrids is plain silly for years!

Still, got there in the end, didn’t you!

Well Jay Cole did say he personally hated the fuel cell articles since fuel cells allow automakers to drag their feet on electrics.

But Plug-in-hybrids (PHEV’s) are really electric cars in that you can run them off your house hold power-points all around town and not use any more gas (in the volt’s case) of no more than 1/6 of a gallon every 6 weeks, (or 4 quarts of gasoline every 36 weeks). The reason for the running is the same as why people with standby emergency generators hear them run once a week. In the case of a VOLT, it isn’t forced to run much at all compared to the total number of miles driven.