Will the EU slam the brakes on PHEVs?

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,227
South Puget Sound, WA
There are some heated discussions right now around stopping the development of popular PHEVs in Europe. I can see this happening eventually, but 2025 is only 4 yrs. away. 2030 seems a more realistic target.

 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
I can see both sides on this one. In many ways a PHEV is redundant, effectively having 2 separate drivetrains, more cost, more weight, more materials to build the car. On the other hand I still see the need for the ICE backup, I still live in an area where I would be locked to our city in a pure EV, a PHEV would reduce our carbon emissions somewhat while still allowing us to travel to other centers. At the same time we explored both the cost and CO2 reductions of us purchasing a PHEV, and can't justify it now. We will just make the leap directly to EV when the time comes to replace our vehicles, and once the charging infrastructure exists here.

I believe current PHEV's are built using the wrong design criteria, first and foremost they are ICE powered vehicles, that have had a motor added with enough battery storage to drive a short range on electric only. PHEV's need to be built as EV's, with a small ICE engine and generator as a range extender. A small 1.0 liter 50 hp engine would be sufficient as a generator for most small cars, which would free up a lot of space and weight from a conventional ICE drivetrain for larger batteries and bigger motors.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,948
Downeast Maine
I can see both sides on this one. In many ways a PHEV is redundant, effectively having 2 separate drivetrains, more cost, more weight, more materials to build the car. On the other hand I still see the need for the ICE backup, I still live in an area where I would be locked to our city in a pure EV, a PHEV would reduce our carbon emissions somewhat while still allowing us to travel to other centers. At the same time we explored both the cost and CO2 reductions of us purchasing a PHEV, and can't justify it now. We will just make the leap directly to EV when the time comes to replace our vehicles, and once the charging infrastructure exists here.

I believe current PHEV's are built using the wrong design criteria, first and foremost they are ICE powered vehicles, that have had a motor added with enough battery storage to drive a short range on electric only. PHEV's need to be built as EV's, with a small ICE engine and generator as a range extender. A small 1.0 liter 50 hp engine would be sufficient as a generator for most small cars, which would free up a lot of space and weight from a conventional ICE drivetrain for larger batteries and bigger motors.
Mazda is bringing just such a vehicle to market with a Wankel range extender of all things.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,227
South Puget Sound, WA
The Chevy Volt is such a vehicle. The ICE is a generator for 90% or more of the driving situations. It engages with the wheels to supplement the electrical motor under heavy loads such as mountain climbing and high-speed passing only. GM's big mistake was not putting this drivetrain in a pickup truck from the beginning. The Mitsubishi Outback PHEV, Honda Clarity and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids are similar configurations with a bit more dependence on the ICE for motive power in special circumstances.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,373
SE PA
It is a ticklish issue. If we are going to 'ban' ICE vehicles, it seems that we need to 'ban' PHEVs as well. Huh.

I guess I prefer the (prior and current) US plan of simply requiring progressively higher mpg (or lower CO2/mile) from vehicles and letting the car cos and engineers figure out how to get there.

But to work (which the current system doesn't) we need to not allow loopholes (like excluding some trucks and SUVs).

And lest anyone 'panic' about the word 'ban', I suppose that there will be exceptions allowed, of course. Folks with a genuine need for ICE performance (like HP or range) will be except from any ban. Just like how when they banned incandescent light bulbs, they still sold them as lamps to put in your oven. I am sure a few folks bought a bunch of oven bulbs, and continued to use them after the ban, but eventually technology drives complete change, and few kooks don't matter.

Whether PHEV are allowed after the ban will matter on whether they are a loophole (negative) or filling a need that would otherwise require a full ICE vehicle (positive). Buying a PHEV bc there are no pure ICE vehicles available (at some future date) and then never plugging it in, would be a loophole like putting an oven bulb in a lamp.
 

CaptSpiff

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2014
550
Long Island, NY
PHEV's need to be built as EV's, with a small ICE engine and generator as a range extender. A small 1.0 liter 50 hp engine would be sufficient as a generator for most small cars, which would free up a lot of space and weight from a conventional ICE drivetrain for larger batteries and bigger motors.
I used to think small engines gutless, but the 1.5 L Chevy Equinox does great all around. So I agree that even a 1/2 liter suitcase size generator, selectable to the driver or automatically online over 50mph could probably double your EV highway range.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,349
Northern NH
I just bought my transitional PHEV, a Rav4 Prime. I have 40 miles of electric range and then it turns into a hybrid that on paper get 38 MPG. Currently I routinely drive through areas that do not even have power lines let alone electric charging infrastructure. For work I drive down to large facilities in Mass that have large parking lots and parking garages with hundreds of spaces. These are manufacturing plants and hospitals, so unless they hire someone to move cars around to charging slots, they need lots of plugs and a power feed to support it. Yes some of the administrative staff can work from home but I dont see how they can supply plugs in all the parking lots. In theory the new Toyota has 600 mile combined range. My Tesla friends claim their sweet spot for range is 150 miles before they stop for a coffee at a supercharger station and get another 150 miles. Anything more than 150 miles and they start to get anxious. Pre Covid to support my work I did day trips to client sites that were in the 400 to 450 miles round trip range. That means two 20 to 30 minute coffee stops (if a slot is open) on top of 6 to 7 hours driving plus time on the client site. No thanks for me adding in those two coffee stops to what is already a long day.

At some point if fossil is taxed, the price of "green gas" gets competitive. Right not it isn't but if climate goals are to be met fossil has to be taxed to make it painful enough to force people to the alternatives. The Germans developed the tech in WW2 to make it, its just a lot cheaper to drill fossil out of the ground than make it out of biomass or solar.

I usually run my cars 8 to 10 years. I figure in 8 to 10 years I will see what makes sense just like I did this time.

Just like in the US, the European media is in the cities and suburbs, not in rural areas. We rural folks barely exist outside of a city in the media. Folks forget European countries are about the size of large US states. They are far more urban. No doubt the folks in rural Norway or Finland are cursing electric vehicle requirement but no one is listening to them. It will be the same in the US.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
947
Eastern Long Island NY
I just bought my transitional PHEV, a Rav4 Prime. I have 40 miles of electric range and then it turns into a hybrid that on paper get 38 MPG. Currently I routinely drive through areas that do not even have power lines let alone electric charging infrastructure. For work I drive down to large facilities in Mass that have large parking lots and parking garages with hundreds of spaces. These are manufacturing plants and hospitals, so unless they hire someone to move cars around to charging slots, they need lots of plugs and a power feed to support it. Yes some of the administrative staff can work from home but I dont see how they can supply plugs in all the parking lots. In theory the new Toyota has 600 mile combined range. My Tesla friends claim their sweet spot for range is 150 miles before they stop for a coffee at a supercharger station and get another 150 miles. Anything more than 150 miles and they start to get anxious. Pre Covid to support my work I did day trips to client sites that were in the 400 to 450 miles round trip range. That means two 20 to 30 minute coffee stops (if a slot is open) on top of 6 to 7 hours driving plus time on the client site. No thanks for me adding in those two coffee stops to what is already a long day.

At some point if fossil is taxed, the price of "green gas" gets competitive. Right not it isn't but if climate goals are to be met fossil has to be taxed to make it painful enough to force people to the alternatives. The Germans developed the tech in WW2 to make it, its just a lot cheaper to drill fossil out of the ground than make it out of biomass or solar.

I usually run my cars 8 to 10 years. I figure in 8 to 10 years I will see what makes sense just like I did this time.

Just like in the US, the European media is in the cities and suburbs, not in rural areas. We rural folks barely exist outside of a city in the media. Folks forget European countries are about the size of large US states. They are far more urban. No doubt the folks in rural Norway or Finland are cursing electric vehicle requirement but no one is listening to them. It will be the same in the US.
On the other hand there are small, dense (and politically not powerless) countries like the Netherlands, where it would make good sense.

I'm bummed the Volt is not sold anymore. I still feel that was a good way to go. I'd have bought one by now...
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,349
Northern NH
My guess is we are like the beginning of the PC era where all sorts of companies are going to come out with different variations. I do not know what will "win" There are also solid state batteries that could push lithium based chemistry's by the wayside.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,948
Downeast Maine
My guess is we are like the beginning of the PC era where all sorts of companies are going to come out with different variations. I do not know what will "win" There are also solid state batteries that could push lithium based chemistry's by the wayside.
I think you are right about green liquid fuels derived from biomass or solar captured carbon. The lithium battery chemistry just doesn't seem like it can support the whole globe's electrical storage needs.