Europe climate group calls for end to subsidies for plug-in hybrid cars

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In this news, we discuss the Europe climate group calls for end to subsidies for plug-in hybrid cars.

LONDON (Reuters) – Plug-in hybrid cars emit far more CO2 than advertised, according to tests commissioned by the European Transport and Environment (T&E) campaign group, which on Monday called on governments to end subsidies and tax breaks for these models.

The tests were carried out by Emissions Analytics on three plug-in hybrid SUV models – BMW’s X5, Volvo’s XC60 and Mitsubishi Motor Corp’s Outlander – and found that even under optimal conditions they emitted significantly more CO2. than what was advertised.

“Plug-in hybrids are fake electric cars, built for lab testing and tax breaks, not for real driving,” Julia Poliscanova, T&E senior manager for clean vehicles, said in a statement. “Governments should stop subsidizing these cars with billions of taxpayer dollars.”

Responding to requests for comment, a Volvo spokesperson said in an email that all Volvo cars are certified and fully compliant with existing emissions laws.

Mitsubishi spokeswoman Amanda Gibson said, also via email, that independent testing can produce unreliable or variable numbers depending on conditions and “we naturally dispute the results for which we have no monitoring of. tests or methodology ”.

BMW did not immediately respond.

T&E’s announcement came just days after the publication of proposed European Union rules setting tough emission limits that automakers must meet for their business to be classified as a sustainable investment.

According to these rules, hybrid vehicles would lose their “green” label from 2026.

Plug-in hybrids are halfway between conventional combustion engines and electric vehicles, combining a smaller engine with an electric motor and a battery.

These hybrids have often been called a “gateway technology” designed to put consumers at ease with electric vehicle (EV) technology, especially as nervousness about the range of fully electric vehicles has been raised. a barrier to mass adoption.

It has also helped automakers increase the return on their investments in combustion engine technologies.

In the first three quarters of 2020, sales of plug-in hybrids accounted for almost half of all electric or partly electric vehicles in the European Union, with a growing number of consumers taking advantage of government subsidies or tax breaks to purchase them. .

But climate groups like T&E have criticized plug-in hybrids because, unlike fully electric models, they emit CO2 when they rely on their fossil fuel engine instead of the battery.

Reporting by Nick Carey; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

Original © Thomson Reuters

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