Currently reading: Inside the industry: Pressure mounts for clarity on hybrids
As the 2030 ICE deadline looms, car manufacturers are pushing government for a definition as to what exactly is a hybrid

Pressure is mounting on the UK government to define what will constitute a hybrid car from 2030-2035, which it has set as the period when engines will be phased out of new car sales forever.

Legislators have kept the description deliberately oblique, undertaking a period of consultation that is rumoured to be getting rather more intense than anticipated. It was expected that arguments would centre only on defining the electric-only range needed to be achieved by a plug-in hybrid. Now it’s not so clear.

Reports suggest that real-world data on conventional hybrids is causing pause for thought. While some see the technology as offering only mild benefits, others point to data that suggests it’s making a real difference, partly through its efficiency and partly because, unlike PHEVs, which need human intervention and a working infrastructure, it’s always on.

The latter argument has merits. Picking through the data is an uncertain game, complicated by car makers being allowed to work together and pool their results. It’s notable, however, that Toyota-Mazda has for some time led the average CO2 emissions pack in Europe, with its 70%-plus hybrid mix challenged only by Stellantis, which has a helpful bias towards low-emissions small cars.

For Autocar Business webinars and podcasts, visit Autocar Business Live

Little wonder that the jockeying for position appeared to step up a gear recently when newspaper leaks suggested Toyota was increasingly eager to find out the government’s decision, its anxiety heightened by a need to know what to do with its hybrid-focused Burnaston and Deeside manufacturing plants and their 3500 or so workers.

Of course, inscrutable Toyota politely rebuffed the claims, but it seems only reasonable that it would want to know the timeline to investing billions in refitting the facilities or closing them down – a decision that’s likely to be dictated not just by electrification plans but also by the UK’s battery manufacturing capability and competitiveness as the shroud of Brexit unfurls.

But the government looks inclined to bide its time as it weighs up just how realistic its 2030 cut-off date is for the sale of pure-ICE cars. If EV uptake continues at the current rate and nationwide charging infrastructure can be built in time, it can take a harder line.

Even optimists admit it’s a stretch, though – not least as nobody knows for sure how big the advances in range and cost reduction will be between now and then. But if the 2030 deadline for a full switch remains challenging, and the data on the merits of hybrids versus plug-in hybrids compelling, don’t be surprised to learn that what was announced as a line in the sand turns out to be drawn slightly farther away than originally billed.

Advertisement

Read our review

Car review

Toyota's new British built hatchback sees the world’s best-selling nameplate return as a rebranded hybrid hatchback

Back to top

Join the debate

Comments
5
Add a comment…
Paul Dalgarno 12 April 2022

If I had my way plug in hybrids would be banned from public and commercial charging points to help charger availability for BEVs. I'd make it mandatory that the buyer has a house charger, and that 50% of the miles would be on electric, or you'd get a large tax bill.

Anyone know where the independent studies are on emissions benefits of mild hybrids? Seem like the emporer's new clothes to me, and the extra weight outweighs the improved fuel consumption. Real world mog is not better than an efficient petrol engine.

PHEVs  have their place if used on pure electric often enough, but just looking around the ones that are in the city's you can normally hear/see that they're running ICEs. Hope the previous tax dodge has been removed on these things. 

The Apprentice 12 April 2022
Paul Dalgarno wrote:

If I had my way plug in hybrids would be banned from public and commercial charging points to help charger availability for BEVs. I'd make it mandatory that the buyer has a house charger, and that 50% of the miles would be on electric, or you'd get a large tax bill.

Anyone know where the independent studies are on emissions benefits of mild hybrids? Seem like the emporer's new clothes to me, and the extra weight outweighs the improved fuel consumption. Real world mog is not better than an efficient petrol engine.

PHEVs  have their place if used on pure electric often enough, but just looking around the ones that are in the city's you can normally hear/see that they're running ICEs. Hope the previous tax dodge has been removed on these things. 

Anyone plugging a PHEV into a public charger is insane anyway, the cost per kW and therefore per mile from these is more expensive than just running on petrol!

ac555 12 April 2022
My ex boss had a BMW i8. It never went near a plug.
When legislating, you have to assume that a large chunk of the population is wantonly stupid.
LP in Brighton 12 April 2022

I think we need some measure of efficiency to define a hybrid. It seems to me that the Toyota approach (with a combination of electric power, Atkinson cycle engine and e-CVT transmission) works well. As does the current Honda set up which has a series hybrid arrangement with Atkinson cycle engine and single gear lockable transmission. And I think the BMW i3 range extender has merit with a small fuel tank incentivising owners to plug in frequently. 

Otherwise mild hybrids have only minimal benefit in real world use.    

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Reset your password

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

A link has been emailed to you - check your inbox.



Don't have an account? Click here to register

Privacy Notice

Haymarket Media Group, publishers of Autocar Business, takes your privacy seriously. Our Automotive B2B brands and partners would like to keep you updated by email, phone and SMS with information and opportunities which we hope will help you in your work. Learn more about how we use your information when creating an online account. We believe we can demonstrate a legitimate interest in using your details for marketing messages, but if you do NOT wish to receive these messages, please click here.

I DON'T want messages from Autocar Business or other Automotive B2B brands via the following channels:
by email       by phone       by SMS

I DON'T WANT messages from you on behalf of your trusted partners via the following channels:     by email

We will use your information to ensure you receive messages that are relevant to you. You can unsubscribe at any time. Please see our Full Privacy Notice for more information.