Automotive executives foresee a big future for plug-in hybrids over the next five years but are less bullish on the future of pure EVs, a new study says.
Asked to name the "electric vehicle technology that will attract the most consumer demand" in a KMPG International survey, 36 percent of auto execs chose plug-in hybrids, while only 11 percent cited battery-electric vehicles (BEVs). The results reflected a sharp change over the past year, with plug-in hybrids rising by 15 percentage points while BEVs dropped by five during that time.
"There's a consensus developing that the plug-in hybrid is probably the best long-term way to go," David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), told Design News. "Plug-ins offer stop-start and regenerative braking. They also get their power from the grid and don't have the range issues that pure electrics have." Cole noted that CAR's studies have shown trends similar to those cited by KPMG.
KPMG's study, "Global Automotive Executive Survey 2013," showed that automotive managers are more inclined to invest in plug-in hybrid technology than in pure EV batteries. Twenty-four percent of respondents said they were considering big investments in plug-in hybrids, while just 8 percent said they see battery technology as a focus of large investment.
Cole, who is in close contact with auto industry engineers, said the study reflects what automakers have gradually come to understand -- that pure electrics are a smaller niche, while plug-in hybrids present an opportunity for a larger market share. "To people inside the industry, this has been clear for a few years," Cole told us. "We've seen annual sales between 23,000 and 24,000 for the Volt, and they're still rising. On the other side, Nissan Leaf sales are down."
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the study, however, may be the fact that the internal combustion engine remains a strong option in the minds of auto executives. Eighty-five percent of the respondents in the KPMG survey considered downsizing of the IC engine as their best chance for fuel efficiency and emissions gains over the next decade. That's particularly so in such countries as China and Brazil, where much development money still flows toward conventional powertrain technology, the study said. It's also the case in the US, where Ford Motor Co. recently announced availability of a one-liter engine targeted at the worldwide market.
Such trends could be a sign that newer powertrain technologies are taking longer than expected to emerge, according to KPMG: "The results show an increasing realization that the electric vehicle is not quite the savior that many had hoped for."
Cole concurred that the internal combustion engine is still considered the best bet for reaching the CAFE mandate of 54.5 mpg by 2025. "We won't be writing the epitaph for the internal combustion engine for a really long time. It could be around for 50 more years."
The problem with smaller engines is the lack of start up acceleration to traffic speed. Once you reach traffic speed, surprisingle small engies will cruise you along.
With an electric booster for start or lane change, a vehicle could be made for the average speed. The long steep hill might be a problem, but if the boost is given a 2-3 mile range it will still be small and will deal with most hills.
Such a small elecric boost could be an electric motor right in the drive train, after the transmission and always rotating, making power to recharde the start battery as you run.
Hmm...well, that's a shame about lithium-ion...but perhaps there will be some breakthroughs in energy harvesting? If pacemakers can run on a human heartbeat--the very thing they are regulating--what about batteries recharging on the power of a car engine? I know it's a much bigger fish to fry and maybe I am just dreaming, but some kind of regeneration of energy could be an option in the future.
2012 Prius Plug In - Charge 120V about 3 hrs takes 3.05 kWHr which give about 10.2 miles range (3.4 m/kwhr)
30 mile commute on 101 from Morgan Hill to San Jose– 50 MPG gas only and 75-80 MPG fully using 3.05 kwhr battery charge (as high as 106 MPG in slow traffic) driving to keep acceleration in the "ECO" zone
2015 Prius Plug in will have 60 MPG gas only with 20 mile range battery
Rates with PG&E
E1 = Tier 1 (up to 363 kwhr) = $0.13; Tier 2 (up to 471 kwhr) = $0.15; Tier 3 (up to 725 kwhr) $0.30: Tier 4/5 $0.34
E9A Part- Peak (winter – weekdays 7 AM to midnight and weekends 5 – 9 PM) = Tier 1 (up to 363 kwhr) = $0.10; Tier 2 (up to 471 kwhr) = $0.12; Tier 3 (up to 725 kwhr) $0.30: Tier 4/5 $0.34
E9A Off- Peak (winter – not part-peak times) = Tier 1 (up to 363 kwhr) = $0.05; Tier 2 (up to 471 kwhr) = $0.07; Tier 3 (up to 725 kwhr) $0.16: Tier 4/5 $0.20
Calculated Breakeven Point between gas and electric charges
$3.40 gas = $0.23 kwhr
$4.00 = $0.27 kwhr
$4.60 = $0.31 kwhr
Concern, when gas prices went down it was better to use gas instead of charging at home (charging at work is free, work pays about $0.16 kwhr commercial rates) since charging the car (even if done at night during off peak rates) would push cumulative usage into the Tier 3 rates running the furnace during the day at the higher tier 3 rates (e.g., $0.30 kwhr - $0.07 kwhr = $0.23 kwhr which would be $3.40 gas). With the 2015 Prius the breakeven point would be even higher so customers would need to balance gas prices, electricity prices and electric conservation (e.g., use CFL, disconnect phantom loads, etc) to stay in lower tier rates (or live in areas that don't have tiers) vs the additional cost of the plug in hybrid.
Concern, 10 miles is nice EV range but not really long enough unless you are driving around town. 20 miles would be better and then switch to gas engine if you need to go further.
Concern, in the colder weather the engine would start automatically for climate control defeating battery only operation (once warmed up them it would go to EV mode).
Agree that EV demand will go down and PHEV demand will go up as gasoline prices continue increase.
I could use an EV for my commute but there have been situations (e.g., need to drive to Monterey after work and then return home) where the EV would not have had the range and absent a back up gas car or finding EV charging station/waiting for the EV to charge, it is much better to have the PHEV and just drive to where you need to go on gas instead of having range anxiety.
Comment, Ford C-Max Energi is PHEV with 20 mile range and 47 (EPA)/~40 (reported) MPG with better handling/interior than Prius. Not that I dislike the Prius which drives OK and consistently gives great gas mileage but the C-Max was not available when the Prius was ordered and would have warranted serious consideration in side by side comparison.
I think my point was... that you don't have to sacrifice speed to get great gas mileage from a hybrid. Obviously, driving really fast is not the way to optimize mpg. I was simply pointing out that hybrids don't suffer as much from bad driving habits as one would guess (barely getting 30mpg is a guess). It is not a guess that any hybrid driven in any manner would yield FAR better mileage than a GTO driven with the lightest foot. We all know that driving a GTO is all about optimizing mpg. Remember back in the Carter years when the speed limit was lowered to 60 mph? That was to save millions of gallons of gas, because old ICE tech got worse gas mileage with every MPH over ~60mph. With a GTO, you are either racing (while watching the gas guage move in real time), or treating the gas pedal like you have an egg under the pedal. GTOlover, (depending on the length of commute) you could buy a hybrid or electric, and the savings in gas each month would probably cover the entire cost of the car. It's a real shame to have a car that cool (GTO) and have to drive 60mph all the time.
The Plug-in Prius is a joke. My 3 year old technology Volt goes 40 miles on a charge, was eligible for the $7,500 tax credit, and looks and drives WAY better than a Prius. Anyone that continues to ride the Prius wave calling themselves green is either ignorant or just plain stupid.
Propane and Natural Gas have been around since the 70's - 80's. A couple local farmers had their pickup trucks converted for it when I was young. Both reported far less efficiency and power. Couple that with a lack of refueling stations in town and they really regreted the decision.
I'm not sure why they did it to begin with. I think it might have been a Carter era tax write-off coupled with the fact that they could refuel in the field, as most of their irrigation wells ran on NG.
Fortunately (sort of), the engines burnt-out fairly quickly (>100K) due to lack of lubrication from liquid gasoline. Newer engines have come a long ways to fix the value burning issue, but you just can't get around the lack of efficiency. Just like diluting gas with Ethanol; you reduce the energy density and it with take more fuel to the work.
I do not disagree with you. A hybrid is on my radar. Just have to have the financial capital to get it (soon).
By the way, that 45 year old car, I wish it was a GTO. It is the cheap version, 6 cylinder Tempest. So my monikor is only a wish at this time. Even trying to race this thing is slow, so I opt to get the most out of MPG.
Close Charles, it is a 1968 Tempest. Looks good, but is not the fast car that is embodied in the GTO. I guess old age has tempered my desire but not my imagination.
My point is that car manufacturers continue to squeeze everything they can out of the cars we drive. At some point in the future, the technology changes (my preference), or the manufacturers take over the driving to optimize MPG of the vehicle for the owner (not prefered).
I totally agree that Pruis technology does not seem to be keeping up with the other plug-in hybrids, it is actually kind of disiappointing. I don't believe owning a Prius has is stupid at all, unless you are buying new. My Prius has saved me a ton of money, and is a great car, but to look at the new cars and technology coming out, the Prius pales in comparison to other PHEVs. There are some great hybrid, plug-ins and electrics coming out now that deserve consideration.
It would be unwise to buy a Chevy Volt unless you have a substantial commute. A 2 mile drive to work would make a Volt a poor choice, unless cost was not the driving factor. The gasoline savings would never compensate for the increased cost, longer commutes make a Volt a great choice.
This article is somewhat of a no brainer. Almost all pure EVs live in California because of their outrageous regulations. In most parts of the country, we all have very hot and very cold days. Running heat and air conditioning off a battery simply isn't practical since they can use far more power than the actual driving. Government Motors saw this when they modified the Volt to be a plug-in hybrid. The engine is great for providing heat in the winter and extra power for air conditioning in the summer.
I make one-day trips from Chicago to Boston several times a year in my Prius with the cabin temperature set at 68, the speed set at 75, and get a consistent 47 - 49 MPG. You simply can't do that using a pure EV. There's no way I'm going to purchase another expensive care dedicated to short commutes. The pure EV was doomed from the start. Automakers create them only to appear 'politically correct' to satisfy the environmentalists who are very unlikely ever going to purchase one of them.
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