05 Jun 2020, 13:06
Edgar Meza

Plug-in hybrids unlikely to lower transport emissions - Greenpeace report

Clean Energy Wire

[CORRECTION: Greenpeace corrected its press release clarifying that currently available plug-in hybrids in Germany have the average engine output of 335 hp – not plug-in hybrids registered in 2019 as this article first stated.]

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which are to be subsidised through the German government's new economic stimulus programme with up to 4,500 euros per new car, will not reduce transport emissions, environmental organisation Greenpeace argues in a report. The majority of hybrid models are heavier and overpowered SUVs and luxury sedans, which limits their ability to reduce emissions, according to the analysis. The average engine output of currently available plug-in hybrids in Germany was 335 hp, while that of all newly registered cars in 2019 was only 158 hp. In addition, tests by German automobile association ADAC show that the fuel consumption of hybrid cars in everyday use is many times higher than indicated in dealer information. "If the federal government now promotes the sale of plug-in hybrids, it will only help the car companies’ short-term bottom line, but it will damage the climate," said Greenpeace transport expert Benjamin Stephan. “The German auto industry has to adapt quickly to the post-combustion engine era. Deceptive packages like plug-in hybrids delay this change.” The Greenpeace analysis evaluated data from the 88 plug-in hybrid models currently available in Germany. Of those, 40 are SUVs, while 21 are upper and upper-middle class models.

Germany’s coalition government agreed this week on an economic stimulus package that, among other measures, aims to boost sales of electric cars and plug-in hybrids with an “innovation bonus”. The premium doubles existing government grants.

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