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EU will use real-world data for PHEV fuel consumption claims - report

European regulators are reportedly looking to crack down on plug-in hybrid vehicles with hard-to-match fuel-use claims.

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Derek Fung
Derek Fung
Journalist
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The promotion and adoption of electric cars in Europe could speed up yet further if proposed fuel consumption calculation changes for plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) come into effect.

Two sources have told Reuters the European Union is planning to change how fuel consumption, and thereby CO2 emissions, from plug-in hybrid vehicles are evaluated.

Real-world data about how often PHEVs are running in hybrid, pure electric, and solely internal combustion engine modes are said to be incorporated into the new measurement standard.

This information will likely be gleaned from fuel consumption meters, which have been fitted as standard to all new cars sold in the EU since 2021.

Should the updated WLTP standard be approved for use, it likely won’t come into play until 2025.

The changes could result in dramatic increases in the fuel consumption ratings for plug-in hybrid models. If so, this will force automakers to rebalance their electrified vehicle offerings away from plug-in hybrids towards pure EVs.

Automakers are faced with heavy fines if they fail to meet the EU’s strict 95g/km CO2 average for new car sales, and plug-in hybrids with outrageously low claimed fuel use figures are one tool they’re using to sneak below that bar.

The mooted changes to the WLTP methodology comes after criticism that plug-in hybrid cars aren’t as green as they claim to be.

The newswire cites a study by the International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT), which shows the electric range for PHEVs is generally overstated, and plug-in hybrids are charged less often than expected.

The charging issue is apparently most obvious with company cars, as drivers don’t have any incentive to charge at home to ensure the car can operate in its most efficient, electric-only or electrically-boosted modes.

Data from Fuelly, a public fuel economy logging site, shows the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV averaging out to a fuel economy rate of 5.8L/100km across 72 vehicles.

Owners on the site run the gamut from those who charge regularly at home to one person who seemingly runs their vehicle as a regular hybrid.

Outlanders charged regularly overnight sip between 1.3L/100km and 2.7L/100km, while the car used as a regular hybrid drinks at a rate of 7.6L/100km.

The Outlander PHEV’s official WLTP rating is 2.0L/100km.

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Derek Fung
Derek Fung

Derek Fung would love to tell you about his multiple degrees, but he's too busy writing up some news right now. In his spare time Derek loves chasing automotive rabbits down the hole. Based in New York, New York, Derek loves to travel and is very much a window not an aisle person.

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