Your take-home message:
Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) and Range Extender (REX) electric vehicles meet the special needs of some owners better than pure electric vehicles and overcome worries of some prospective purchasers. Therefore, they encourage early adoption and increase the number and type of people purchasing Low Emission Vehicles. However, PHEVs and REXs are less environmentally friendly and may be less cost-effective than pure electric vehicles, so some electric vehicle owners believe that they may even slow transition to low carbon transport in the longer run and therefore should be discouraged unless absolutely needed.
This month’s poll:
Low Emission Vehicles (LEVs) can be divided into (a) ‘Electric Vehicles’ (EVs) propelled entirely by an electric motor and powered by a battery; (b) Plug-in Hybrids (PHEVs) which have a battery and electric motor, but also an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) powered by petrol or diesel; or (c) Range Extenders (REXs) which is propelled by an electric motor, but also have a small ICE on board which uses petrol or diesel to generate electricity for charging the battery as the vehicle travels. Option ‘b’ is sometimes referred to as a “Parallel Plug-in Hybrids”, and option ‘c’ a “Series Plug-in Hybrid” (see http://www.electricheaven.nz/NZ-Electric-Car-Guide-3Oct2017.pdf).
Our twelfth 1-click survey proposed that “Plug-in Hybrid EVs and Range Extender EVs will make an important contribution to transitioning to low emission transport in NZ”. Participants could choose between the following five options:
(1) Strongly agree
(3) Neither agree nor disagree
(5) Strongly disagree
The poll was sent on 10 October 2017 to 355 EV owners and 37 PHEV/REX owners who have enrolled in the Flip The Fleet project • 241 EV and 16 PHEV/REX owners responded by 17 October • 77 respondents provided 172 reasons for their choice.
Overall, 63% of respondents either ‘strongly agreed’ or ‘agreed’ that PHEVs and REXs will make an important contribution to transitioning to low emission transport in NZ (Fig. 1). PHEV & REX owners were overwhelmingly in agreement with the proposition (94% ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’), whereas EV owners were more divided in their opinion (61% ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’, but 22% ‘disagreed’ or ‘strongly disagreed’).
Figure 1 Responses of 241 EV and 16 PHEV/REX owners to the proposition that “Plug-in Hybrid EVs and Range Extender EVs will make an important contribution to transitioning to low emission transport in NZ”
What makes you Click?
Respondents identified the supreme advantage of PHEVs and REXs to be their extended range which makes long trips more practical (Table 1). Many see range restriction as a legitimate constraint of EVs, particularly in the early stages of EV uptake in New Zealand while rapid charging infrastructure remains sparse in some regions and while affordable EVs still have quite limited range. PHEVs and REXs are a particularly good choice for people who wish to have just one car and regularly drive long distances, or who need a bigger car to tow or to carry heavy loads. Many of those with PHEVs express complete satisfaction with their choice (e.g. “It’s a no brainer really”, “good for the environment”, “they make me feel good when out on the road”).
There was broad consensus that PHEVs and REXs are playing an important role by encouraging earlier uptake of LEVs by more and different types of people. These were seen as useful steps in the right direction for those not yet confident to choose a full EV. Some referred to the PHEVs and REXs as “trainer wheels” or a “perfect gateway drug” and were confident that their owners would soon learn that a pure EV could meet most of their needs. Many celebrate their role in starting people and our whole transport community along an important road to transformation.
Many respondents thought that the contribution of PHEVs and REXs would be short lived (e.g. “will gone in the blink of an eye”, “past technology”, “not really a stepping stone anymore”). They reason that range restriction was an exaggerated concern which will be debunked, or at least a concern that was rapidly fading as battery technology improves and more rapid chargers are available. One respondent pointed out that a lack of new EVs for sale in New Zealand has encouraged more purchases of PHEVs in the meantime but soon will change. Another pointed out that the promised flurry of new electric vehicle models that are about to hit the New Zealand market will include a lot of PHEVs and REXs, so they will become all the more competitive against pure EVs for some time to come.
Although in the minority, some EV owners expressed strong convictions that PHEVs, and to a lesser extent REXs, have a limited contribution to make for transitioning New Zealand to a low emission transport system. Their main concerns are environmental in nature (e.g. “PHEVS are still adding to global warming”), although some also believe that PHEVs and REXs are less cost effective because they embody many of the disadvantages and fewer of the benefits of EVs (Table 1). Opponents point to the very small battery range of current PHEVs and their consequent expectation that many will be using considerable quantities of petrol or diesel. Many emphasised a fundamental and urgent goal to eliminate use of fossil fuels altogether (e.g. “need to stop dilly dallying around and get the transition done smartish”) – they see PHEVs and REXs as a halfway step that may even slow-up overall transformation by dis-incentivising investment in pure electric vehicle support and policy. Two respondents pointed out that the net calculation of environmental benefit swings on what type of vehicle a PHEV displaces, not on a simple comparison of the benefits of EVs compared to PHEVs and REXs – if a PHEV is genuinely needed to do the job and displaces a large fossil fuelled SUV, there has been a net environmental gain. If a family can keep an old ICV for long trips and transfer most of their travel to an EV for most of their transport, it makes little environmental or financial sense to invest in a PHEV or REX instead of the EV.
Table 1: Reasons associated with respondents’ choices about whether Plug-in Hybrid EVs and Range Extender EVs will make an important contribution to transitioning to low emission transport in NZ.
In view of the reduced environmental (and potentially reduced financial benefits) of PHEVs/REXs and transitory value, some Flip the Fleet participants are highlighting a need for leadership, investments and education to minimise their proportion of PHEVs/REXs in the national fleet in the longer run (e.g. “government needs to up its aims and game NOW”)
The results of this month’s 1-click poll are consistent with earlier surveys by Flip the Fleet (see www.flipthefleet.org/discussion) which showed that (a) LEV owners care deeply about improving environmental wellbeing, especially by combatting climate change (1-click survey #8), (b) that while many EV drivers are unfazed by range anxiety, there is a perception amongst ICV owners that it is important (1-click survey #9), and (c) that maintaining an old ICV alongside an EV in two car families is a practical solution to occasional long-range driving (1-click survey #11, Drivers’ Memo #14).
Research Priorities & Recommendations:
This survey illustrates the need for further research in the following areas:
- How much travel in PHEVs and REXs is propelled by the ICE rather than the battery in New Zealand conditions?
- Do people and businesses who buy PHEVs or REXs really need the extra range/capacity of the ICE to meet their transport needs, or could they be met in other ways?
- What are the repairs and maintenance costs of PHEVs/REXs compared to EVs, and what is the overall cost effectiveness of PHEVs/REXs, EVs and some optimum mix of the two?
In view of the value of PHEVs/REXs as stepping stones to EV uptake, and the necessity of their added range for some users, we recommend that PHEVs and REXs are celebrated and promoted as useful additions to New Zealand’s national fleet. However, we also recommend that promotion and education around LEVs is nuanced to differentiate between EVs and PHEVs/REXs with an ultimate goal to minimise the number of people and businesses that buy a PHEV or REX where an EV would have adequately met their needs.
Your comments in detail:
Below is a lightly edited and re-arranged record of all the comments received. The have been approximately ordered from strong support for the role of PHEVs and REXs to opposition.
PHEVs & REXs are an excellent option: “It’s a no-brainer really …. [Respondent chose 1]
A step in the right direction: “Hybrids are a step in the right direction – improve fuel economy etc. but I view them as a transitional measure only needed before we have a more widely available charging network and until the range of BEVs on a single charge is improved” ● “Many of those car manufacturers who recently announced transition to ‘Battery Electric Vehicles’ (e.g. Volvo by 2019) have a bob each way – many will feed PHEVs and REXs into the market as starters, rather than switching entirely and immediately to pure EVs. Major transformations of transport and perfection of new technologies takes time and need to carry the customers with them – PHEVs and especially REXs are a step in the right direction at least”
Choice particularly attractive in New Zealand: “Rex’s are definitely a good help in NZ where we have distances between chargers” ● “Because of the low population density and relatively poor charge station distribution, any longer distance trips are compromised. This is exacerbated by the poor public transport options”
The alternatives are worse for remote and rural driving: “I answered a query from a rural vet who was thinking that getting an EV would be too limiting – I agreed. I suggested the Mitsubishi Outlander that would have allowed local calls to be covered with electric, but have the backup if called to a farm in the boonies. Seemed to make perfect sense to me. The alternative was a petrol or diesel 4wd vehicle”
REXs are a better alternative than PHEVs: “P/hybrids much less help, as they are still primarily a petrol engine” ● “As an EV owner I do not consider plug-in hybrids help advance the switch to 100% EV since they are a compromise only aimed at better fuel efficiency. The range extender is a half-way house and is better than the hybrid, as it focuses more on electric driving with a small petrol engine to boost range” ● “REXs are a better option for the environment and financially than a PHEV, but even a REX should be avoided if an EV is available that meets your needs”
A particularly sound choice for some one-car families: “A good compromise for a one car family” ● “These are probably useful for helping one-car families and individuals feel comfortable making the switch” ● “Affordable EVs don’t make sense to a lot of people. Why pay 10-12k for a car that barely makes it across town and back? Using it as a sole car is the domain of enthusiasts, activists, and the soon-to-be-disappointed. Hybrids bridge that gap for people by being capable of being the sole car in the family, low petrol consumption, and normal range” ● “Most families can run a ‘virtual PHEV’ by retaining an old ICE and running it into the ground. The carbon emitted to build it is already adding to our climate change problems, so why not keep the dunger going if you really need a car for occasional long trips or towing, provided of course that nearly all your local running is in your new EV it seems a smart choice to keep the old ICE. However, if you are a one car family, and you need to regularly do longer trips, then it makes sense to choose a PHEV”
… but also fit well in two-car families: “A single PHEV may be a good alternative for those households that have both a BEV and an ICE car, but only use the ICE car on rare occasions” ● “the ultimate combination where a couple both need a car each day – have an EV for close commuting, and a PHEV or REX for the occasional long trips”
Don’t equate complexity with vulnerability: “Mechanically, a PHEV is hardly any more complicated than an ICE car. The Prius’s torque mixer is an elegant mechanism, and I suspect that it and the Outlander’s transaxles require very little maintenance in practice”
PHEV and REX improvements are coming: “PHEVs and REXs are expensive and battery range limited at the moment – maybe the hybrid will be the future – if they can miniaturize the portable charging systems it’s the closest they will get to perpetual motion”
Useful and necessary stepping stone for some people: “1. The more rural one is, the more relevant PHEVs and REXs are. 2. Some transitional people have differing emotional tolerances towards range anxiety. 3. Some folk want to tow their boat to the local beach to go fishing or water skiing and can’t afford a Tesla, so plenty of space in the market for PHEV Outlander type vehicles at a more affordable price point. 4. But the E range really does need to be at least close to the 50km mark” ● “The PHEV are important because (1) while the BEV option is limited in types of cars on offer, it expands the types of cars available, eg, there is no BEV like the Outlander (2) overcomes limitations of BEVs while the charger network is still in development. (3) provides a stepping stone for owners who aren’t quite ready to go fully electric
A good stepping stone: “PHEV & REX make it easier for people who can’t quite manage the mental shift required to rethink longer distance travel to make the transition. Personally, I prefer to drive fully electric and deal with any issues around travelling longer distances as they arise, but I know there are people who need to go further on a regular basis and these vehicles are a good stepping stone for them” ●”Until we have pure EVs with a better range, vehicles which are predominantly electrically powered but with petrol/diesel motors as a back-up and not the primary source of power will fill the void” ● “I would like to think that people will see the much greater benefit in going all EV – but sadly many won’t, and cost or range anxiety will put people off so the compromise may be the best we can expect” ● “PHEVs and REXs will help alleviate ‘range anxiety’ and provide an EV-based solution for the ‘holiday vehicle” ● “They are an interim answer to lowering emissions, but I see “no emission” as the best goal” ● “I chose ‘agree’ as I know moving forward this is the way of the future. I don’t ‘strongly agree’ because I feel there is still a lot riding on technology. Moving forward, the EVs need a longer battery charge life (for longer travel between charges is essential) and a faster charge time to really be an equally attractive choice to current fuel cars” ● “Easy transition”
Good options for country driving: “Currently available pure EVs don’t have sufficient range for people living in rural areas or distant towns. They are also too expensive for many people”
Important until EV range improves: “Once people get a better range to be able to for on long weekend trips they’ll prefer not having to maintain a petrol engine” ● “current battery range limitations exceed many people’s patience”
Safer option: “Many people don’t understand how you use and charge an EV and will not buy one due to limited range. The hybrid and extender EVs give a sense of security. And once they get to know the electric part of the car, most will comfortably buy a full EV” ● “Despite the increasing predominance of Rapid Chargers, Kiwis are used to disasters and feel they need a backup option” ● “people will need the “security blanket” of a hybrid until the range of pure EVs and number of charging stations improves”
Still plenty of EV issues to resolve: “There are continuous charging issues I read about all over EV countries like Sweden, especially in towns and bigger cities. Home charging not possible as people live in apartments, electricity prices are rising year after year and I suspect that once lots of car owners are depending on and are in the hands of supplier corporations, they will raise prices to make big profits” [Respondent chose 3]
Neither fish nor fowl: “Hybrids are neither fish nor fowl! Why cart around two energy sources” ● “Possible but only a half-way house to full EVs or alternatives like fuel cell” ● “I would like to discourage the use of any hydrocarbons as a means of personal transport. Hybrids/plug-ins are only a half-way house therefore are still adding to global warming”
Starts more and different people down the EV road: “They are the perfect “gateway drug” to get people into EVs because they completely eliminate range concerns and allow people to adjust to the EV lifestyle at their own pace. They greatly incentivise pure EV operation (keeping trips short, charging whenever possible) by rewarding with all the associated benefits (low running costs, priority lanes, never having to go to petrol stations, car warm for start of daily commute without filling garage with fumes, feeling of helping the environment). That last reason is particularly important as it opens people’s eyes to other green activities such as using public transport, recycling, and voting. Finally, passive advocacy (neighbours noticing you are plugging in your car, friends and relatives riding in your car and seeing how fast and quiet and zero hassle it is, work colleagues noticing you laugh at their complaints about petrol price increases) has a huge influence on PHEV uptake and a certain % of those who consider a PHEV will consider taking the extra step of getting a full EV” ● “The PHEVs are also really good EV trainer wheels and don’t frighten the punters so much. Most of the very early adopters of EVs started on conventional hybrids – the same is likely to happen to people who buy a PHEV first and then realise later that they could have dodged the extra expense of the PHEV by going straight to an EV. PHEVS and REXs are not as scary as EVs for the ill-informed” ● “Too many people have a phobia about range and the long range EVs are just too expensive to convince anyone but the wealthy or the enthusiast. The REX and plug-in hybrids are a half-way house for those people” ● “some people aren’t comfortable enough with the idea of going full EV, so it is good to have the plug-in Hybrid as a step towards full EV sometime in the future” ● “Any reason for a person or family to “try out” this technology is a win for the change required for acceptance of the new mode of transport” ● “Some prospective EV owners are concerned with the low range of pure battery EVs, and worry about being stranded. A PHEV allays those fears and will more likely be the choice of such buyers. After they have used it for a while they will probably realise that their fears were groundless, and will want to upgrade to a ‘real’ EV for their next car” ● “For some the transition to electric is too scary and the range expectations dominate, so having a plug-in hybrid will be their first step” ● “They will provide the ‘interface’ personal transportation between ICE to EV transition, and reduce the ‘range anxiety’ for those whom are not EV confident” ● “Plug-in Hybrids and Range Extender EVs will enable people in following situations to transition to low emission transport: (i) Those who cannot afford purchase price of a BEV with enough driving range for their needs; (ii) Home owners who do not have off-street parking or there is no viable solution for charging at home; (iii) Renters who cannot guarantee will have ongoing access to charging at home” ● “A PHEV is a good way to build up experience of electric-only driving without committing to a BEV” ● “for those who have range anxiety it does provide a transition pathway” ● “Range anxiety is an important limiting factor in EV uptake, options that improve or negate this issue will be an important milestone in further market penetration” ● “People freak out about range issues, so having the comfort of the petrol as backup will get people into trying out EV”
Less environmentally friendly: “I feel that whilst the combustion engine isn’t at the end of its life, we need to find another mode of transport that is less polluting” ● “We need rapid transition to minimise global warming” ●” Any vehicle emitting any amount of CO2 isn’t really contributing towards low emission transport in NZ. We should be moving towards a NO emission transport in NZ and the world before it’s too late” ● “No pollution” ● “The whole point of electric cars is being emission free” [Respondent chose 4] ● “Because most of our electricity supply comes from renewables” ● “Environmentally the very low emission petrol engines by Mazda might be more environmentally friendly than a PHEV in the future” ● “It’s like switching to natural gas. That’s cleaner than coal but if we are to really have a huge impact on climate change we need to stop burning fossil fuels – period” ● “It is important that we look after our environment as the global population grows. We must combat climate change” ● “Need to stop dilly dallying around and get the transition done smartish”
A soft option? “We should be aiming for full EVs and not relying on ICE vehicles at all” ● “Hybrids are for pussies. Get real and support 100% electric” ● “Hybrid & Range Extender vehicles are only a soft option for getting major efficiencies – full electric with better range would be better” ● “When considering purchasing an EV I was made aware that a hybrid is only a token move away from our dependence on fossil fuels. Hybrids have all the disadvantages of IC vehicles and usually have only minor use of renewable fuel”
EVs and public transport already adequate for many peoples’ needs: “PHEVs still use fossil fuel. Batteries are getting better Most trips are well within EV range” ● “We should be thinking about using public or shared transport more for longer trips”
Rent instead of buying a PHEV? “Cheap EVs that the majority of NZers can afford for typical urban driving do have limitations for occasional long journeys so PHEVs do provide a “best of both worlds” solution. However … we personally have shown that a single car family with a Nissan Leaf can overcome that by using rentals for a few longer journeys. By having access to a good “account holder” rate we have rented as-new vehicles for approx 10 days of the year costing less than $1,000 out of our $2,000+ fuels savings from the Leaf. So… PHEVs competition in my mind is car sharing and rental schemes. For occasional need vehicles for most people those will be a cheaper/better option than the added cost and maintenance of a PHEV. But there is a cross-over point obviously where those who do long range trips more regularly (i.e. people with a bach etc. who visit it at least every month) will be better off with a PHEV like the Outlander”
Slowing transition? “They may slow down the rollout of charging infrastructure because they can get by without the need to charge, so could take pressure off govt to incentivise charger deployment” ●” I think this sort of [PHEV & REX] compromise will slow the impetus towards a change in how we view our entitlement to travel. We need to get used to the idea that less travel is good, and build our lives around that” ● “Choosing a hybrid will slow the necessary development and lessens the increases in range of fully electric vehicles” ● “Need to reduce the number of ICEs” ● “My concern in advocating for hybrids/battery extended vehicles is that while they may allay some of the range anxiety issues, they may also act as a disincentive to give up completely oil-based fuels or to reduce the drive to install rapid chargers in sufficient numbers nationwide that we can progress to a pure EV domestic fleet”
EVs already too good to bother with a PHEV or REX: “It’s obvious from international trends that EVs are a fast-emerging transport technology that will underpin autonomous vehicles. BZ has the opportunity to be in the leading countries to embrace this” ● “More money is going into charging and battery technology” ● “When the tipping point comes, the transition will be swift” ● “They are “Clean” good for the environment. They are quiet. Good for the environment. They are very economical and much cheaper to run than petrol or diesel. And they make me feel good when out on the road” ● “Range extenders are not the answer. We are almost there with affordable long-range EVs already”
A rapidly passing phase? “PHEVs will be gone in a blink of an eye. We will have cheap 40kWh+ Nissan Leafs and Vans in NZ next year, together with other cars, that can exceed 200km per charge easily. Fast forward to 2020 and there will be no attraction or practical point to buying a PHEV” ● “The rapid developments of battery technology and extended range for new BEVs might make PHEVs obsolete quickly” ● “advancement in battery technology with quickly make the range of BEVs comparable to ICE, meaning there is no real advantage to PHEV or range extender EVs. For example, the range of the latest Leaf is anticipated to be around 400kms” ● “all-electric vehicles will get a lot better quickly so hybrids won’t be needed soon” ● “The way battery tech is going it won’t be long before they’re not needed” ● “Maybe for some people, but mostly the pure EVs with longer range that we will see over the next few years will enable drivers to go straight from their fossil fuel burners to battery electric vehicles. When you can buy an EV with 60kWh or more there is no need for hybrids (for most people)” ● “Hybrids are not really a stepping stone anymore – like petrol/diesel run vehicles, they are a thing of past technologies. Get with the program and forget about those!” ● “Hybrids are a total waste of time – pure EV batteries almost have the same range now” ● “As public awareness of the practical usefulness of pure EVs grows and their price drops, hybrids won’t be so attractive” ● “now the charging network is getting better and there are more car companies coming on board and batteries are getting better, I think PHEVs and REXs won’t be that much of an issue in future” ● “Pure EV will have equal range and folks will avoid the extra maintenance cost of PHEV” ● “PHEVs are more likely to be chosen (at least until now) because so few new EVs are on the NZ market – once people have more choice of EV and commercial fleet operators can more easily buy new EVs, then the popularity of PHEVs will be displaced without the need for policy intervention”
Avoid interim measures: “They are a bit of a cop-out because they still produce emissions” ● “Ultimately, New Zealand needs to follow the leading nations such as Norway and France in transitioning to a low carbon economy, which will involve weaning ourselves off fossil fuels for land-based transportation [Respondent chose 4] ● “Forget interim measures – the Earth can’t wait, the rivers, the animals – let’s get on with it!”
Developing better charging will reduce need for PHEVs & REXs: “PHEVs/REXs overcome range issues. They’re likely to be less necessary when a national recharging network is well developed and trusted” ● “I think it is much more important to rapidly expand a network of charging stations. Why does Milton and Gore not have any?” ● “Best thing to help EV take up is to put in more fast chargers so people can get on with travelling longer distances – which is extremely limiting for people in some parts of the country i.e. top of the South Island, especially between Nelson and Christchurch and Greymouth areas. A trip like that currently would take 2 days with an affordable EV. We need those fast chargers top of the South Island. There are many everywhere else but we are still in an impossible zone to travel in a decent time frame” ● “In the short term where there is a shortage of rapid chargers, I worry about pure EVs having to queue behind hybrids which could complete journeys without any electricity” ● “Range anxiety is the biggest hurdle”
PHEV battery range still too small: “Many PHEVs have low battery only range” ● “There are a few models out there that have decent EV-only range. For short trips around town they are as good for the environment as a pure EV, while reducing the family’s dependence on a full-ICE for longer trips. However, when driven longer-distance, they are as polluting as an ICE car” ●” [Battery] range is pathetic” ● “I had to look up what a Range Extender EV was! But the best thing to increase low emission transport is to provide more options and longer ranges on 100% electric cars and not those still depending on petrol to fuel them. Plug-in hybrids in the lower price range (i.e. $35,000) only give low EV ranges (30 Km) and the rest is still fuelled by petrol. That’s hardly what I would call EV at all in my opinion. Those with a higher EV range are costing over $80,000 and simply unaffordable for most Kiwis” ● “A number of hybrids have such small ranges in EV mode that they are really petrol cars with a bit of EV on the side rather than vehicles that rarely need oil-based fuel” ● “I look forward to rapid increases in the battery sizes in PHEVs as well as in the pure EVs so these practical compromises are less costly for the environment”
It depends on what you are replacing: “People tend to compare PHEVs with EVs, but really, it’s what a PHEV replaces that counts. If a business needs to go long distances and off roads, or needs a heavy big vehicle to carry or tow loads (not available yet as EVs), then they will probably be replacing a gas guzzling workhorse with a PHEV. I’d much rather see them choose a PHEV in the meantime, and at least score the gains of electric propulsion around home base.
We need data on % EV driving: “I’d like to see data on the use of PHEVs, and the extent of conventional fuel use” ● “I hope that NZ can minimise the number of PHEVs and REXs in its LEV fleet – partly because more CO2 is emitted to make a PHEV and (to a lesser extent) a REX in the first place – and partly because some people may do most of their driving on petrol rather than the battery. I have been assured by some PHEV owners that over 95% of their travel is by battery, but I have also heard of two Outlanders where the battery is never charged! Flip the Fleet’s measures of % EV running of PHEVs and REXs is going to be very telling in this latter regard. In the meantime, the environmental precautionary principle suggests that we should minimise the number of PHEVs and REXs until we know more about how they are used and also what they substitute in the existing ICE fleet”
Overthrowing the SUV mindset: “They may make a difference to those with an SUV mind set, who think they need one vehicle that does everything. For most people their daily transport needs will be met by a BEV and they could share or hire a vehicle for other types of transport requirements. We need to shift our mindset to one where we use a vehicle that suits the task or journey”
Not as cost effective: “They are more complex to make, so more expensive, and probably less reliable than pure EV” ● “the drivers gain no maintenance savings over an ICE, as all the squeaky gears will still need the lube!” ● “Disagree because any form of hybrid has all the disadvantages of ICE vehicles in terms of maintenance and higher cost of two power systems. What would make more sense is more rapid charging stations – that is the key” ● “having the two systems takes away some of the key benefits of lower maintenance costs and they still rely on fossil fuels” ● “I disagree because the fuel savings on a plug-in Hybrid car are minimal” ● “PHEV do not get the cost saving benefits of not having to have an engine serviced”
Less efficient: “[PHEVs/REXs are] less efficient through – having two motor systems instead of one” ● “the increased weight of a petrol engine, and the room it takes up lessens the room and weight for batteries” ● “EVs are simple and efficient. The work to increase battery storage capacity should receive highest attention, not building inefficient vehicles”
Better to invest in more chargers and faster chargers: “we need not only a fast charging network, but high capacity super-fast chargers as well. This is not rocket science”
Withdraw RUC exemptions from PHEVs: “Hybrids should not get the RUC exemptions that EVs get. i.e. diesel hybrids may use the charge reduction of having EV functionality but then run purely on diesel. The exemptions should be aimed at driving pure EV uptake”
Taking self-responsibility for combating climate change: “I’ve owned a BMW i3 for nearly 3 years. In that time, I’ve travelled 55000 km and personally saved about 25000 tonnes of greenhouse gases from being put into our atmosphere. In the light of woefully inadequate leadership from our government it’s up to us as private individuals to “lead the charge”. As the number of new EV registrations continues to rise significantly we can expect even greater environmental benefits.
A need for better leadership from government: “NZers attraction to SUVs and associated outdoor lifestyle and remote places makes the PHEVs seductive. We can’t expect the dealers to lead buyers around this trap in the early stages of transition when range anxiety is overblown and an expensive PHEV option is available. Instead we need active policy development and investment in education, not just to accelerate LEV uptake, but also to encourage people to go directly to EVs unless their specific needs genuinely mean that a PHEV or REX is required. A neoliberal, the-market-alone-can-drive-smart-changes attitude is holding NZ back as a country” ● “Hopefully the new government will be willing to really invest in the EVolution in a meaningful way, and not just throw some crumbs and turn up for photo ops” ● “Given the dire risks posed from anthropogenic climate change, government needs to up its aims and game NOW!”
What should we ask the members next? Please suggest questions to ask of your fellow EV owners in future 1-click surveys – email your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dima Ivanov, Jefferson Dew, Henrik Moller
18 October 2017