26 Jun 2020, 12:15
Sören Amelang

Bosch CEO says car industry must prevent plug-in “hybridgate” emissions scandal


German car industry association VDA will launch a working group to look into the sustainability of plug-in hybrid cars because these are often driven in combustion engine mode rather than using the electric motor, resulting in high emissions, according to Volkmar Denner, CEO of car supplier Bosch. Asked by Wirtschaftswoche Online whether he sees the risk of a "hybridgate" emissions scandal following the dieselgate affair, Denner said: "We must prevent that. At Bosch, we will change the rules for company cars to create a real incentive to charge the cars, rather than refuelling them." The VDA working group will analyse data on the use of the cars to find out how often they are driven in electric mode and how they should be designed to make real fuel consumption as low as possible, Denner said. "If we take climate protection seriously, we have to prove that plug-in hybrids don't lead to an emissions increase."

Environmental activists have denounced plug-in hybrids as sham packages for years because many are overwhelmingly driven with an empty battery in combustion-engine mode, resulting in higher emissions than those caused by pure combustion engine models given that plug-in hybrids are heavier. Tests by German automobile association ADAC also show that the fuel consumption of hybrid cars in everyday use is many times higher than indicated in dealer information. According to a recent Greenpeace report, plug-ins will not reduce transport emissions. Germany’s economic stimulus package aims to boost sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids with an “innovation bonus” that doubles previous grants.

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