Is this the end of plug-in hybrid sales in the EU?

New EU rules may help phase out plug-in hybrid vehicles sooner than some carmakers were speculating. Drafts for ‘Green Finance’ regulations to come into force this year, would ban manufacturers from labelling PHEVs as “sustainable investments” beyond 2025.

Drafts as seen by Reuters define a framework that depends on CO2 savings when deeming an investment sustainable. The aim is to avoid “greenwashing,” i.e. companies presenting as more environmentally friendly than they actually are, the news agency reports. Planned rules on emissions of pollutants like nitrogen oxides could further increase the cost of producing these cars, adds Reuters.

For the car industry, this could mean the end of PHEVs as “transition” technology as it would only be able to count cars as green which do not emit any CO2. For the EU, the new rules aim to accelerate said transit to fully electric vehicles and meet climate goals. At the same time, it is a move away from previous policies that had counted PHEVs along with BEVs.

The Union and some member states have since moved away from supporting plug-in hybrid technology. Here, Reuters highlights the Netherlands that already excluded PHEVs from tax breaks in 2016 and has since seen an eight-fold increase in BEV sales over PHEVs, showing how government policy on vehicle technology can have a major effect on consumer behaviour. In Norway too, electric cars regularly outsell plug-in hybrid models as was the case in March. The agency also quotes a 2020 report by Fraunhofer and the ICCT, which found PHEV to be up to four times more pollutant than type-approved.

Of course, some carmakers are already rallying against the new EU plans currently being drafted in Brussels. Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark, a company that has yet to bring a single electric car, told Reuters it was “crazy to do this by 2025 because effectively you kill demand today.” The Volkswagen company plans to sell PHEVs until 2030 in the Beyond100 strategy.

At the same time, an analysis of car production plans in Europe through to 2028 compiled for Reuters by AutoForecast Solutions (AFS) showed only 28 PHEV models versus 86 BEV models. The agency considers this “a turnaround for an industry where PHEV models on the market have outnumbered BEV models every year since 2015, often significantly.”

Carmakers have indeed tried to delay their transition with German FEV estimating for Reuters that fitting a battery, motor and electronics to a combustion engine car to make a PHEV costs up to 4,000 euros ($4,700) per vehicle – and much less than designing an entirely electric car. BMW is an example of a strategy heavy on PHEVs (and ICEs), despite their early attempts at electric cars. Yet even Oliver Zipse made a strategic turn last November with BMW now developing a dedicated electric car platform to utilise in the new plant in Hungary after 2025. The company also intends to start building a fully electric model in the city of Regensburg from 2022.

Will the new regulations be enough to get Europe closer to the climate goals? A European Commission official declined to comment on the green finance rules specifically but told Reuters its policies were “technology-neutral”, adding that PHEVs were “a transition technology towards zero-emission mobility”. To reach an overall climate neutrality target in 2050, nearly all cars on the roads must be zero emissions by that time, the Commission added.


about „Is this the end of plug-in hybrid sales in the EU?“
William Tahil
15.04.2021 um 11:12
All the BEV manufacturers have been cutting planned production every year for the last few years because of battery shortages - the latest being the Fiat 500 two days ago as reported by electrive. And you can make 3 or 4 PHEVs for each BEV battery, saving far more fuel and reducing emissions far more than one short range BEV. We are still in transition - authorities should be assisting people to use PHEVs "properly", not penalising them. If it's the company car drivers who "abused" PHEVs, don't incentivise them - incentivise them for private owners who want to save money on their daily drive into work.
15.04.2021 um 20:23
don't make public money incentives. Inpose high penalty on pure ICE and especially diesels in the cities and transfer that money to PHEV drivers - yes, charge plug 230V/16Amp needs to be at every corner - best would be if these cars charged Wirelessly from parking spots ( hence effortless for driver ) - 5h charging after 45km trip or let's say after 400km of hybrid mode trip is a nonsense ( 600 km trip full battery or empty battery makes 1l/100km difference in consumption so no real benefit there - I have PHEV ) - I still like my PHEV, but I am super motivated to charge it everywhere I can (take out cable , connect, zilion charging cards etc.. ) but at least I have a garage. I don't see employee who got his BMW PHEV as leasing from company just to get tax incentives doing the same..more likely opposite. I know colleagues who never charged their PHEV, battery empty red light always on ( in Belgium ). indeed at least he is driving as standard Prius Hybrid with 100kg battery :(
15.04.2021 um 21:37
Weak EU as usual... 2025 should mark the end of sales of new ICE and any form of hybrid engine.
17.04.2021 um 15:21
Phev's need to have their range increased significantly as currently they are only useful for limited use cases.My passat gte barely gets 20 miles on pure electric even in warm weather. This will get me to my office, but I can't plug in to charge at work, so the return journey is always on petrol.100 miles of electric range would work, and petrol could be only used for long distances.Pure combustion vehicles should basically be replaced with these in places where electric in not viable
19.04.2021 um 12:14
Interesting to see many comments magically appearing when electrive reports on leaks targeting the PHEVs, when usually, the comment section here (and no offence) is pretty silent when reporting on BEVs. But get an article out signaling the probable end of PHEVs and it magically has many comments... I wonder why...
Malcolm L Badger
20.04.2021 um 21:51
Very interesting reading
21.04.2021 um 00:55
172 mpg 12500 miles in 2 years in A3 etron. Petrol cost £466Electric consumption 3200 kWh. Not all from Charging as always try to recover on Motorways to use in slower roads.My daily commute was about 30 miles before lockdown and could charge at both end so my daily commute was always all on electric.
European Superleague
21.04.2021 um 03:49
People would use battery from phev if you double price of petrol and with this money incentivise BEV. Unfortunately, the planet situation is much worse than they tell us.

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