The UK government could significantly advance its Road to Zero emissions ambitions by incentivising drivers to switch to the latest generation of plug-in hybrid vehicles.
A survey of drivers of the UK’s best-selling plug-in hybrid vehicle, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, reveals that around half the average weekly mileage covered in their vehicles is as pure electric vehicles, burning no fuel and producing zero tailpipe emissions.
A survey undertaken by Kadence International, a global market research company, on behalf of Mitsubishi Motors in the UK, revealed that while Outlander PHEV owners’ average weekly mileage was 179.2 miles, an average of 90.6 miles are driven in EV mode each week, where the car is being driven only by its batteries and electric motors.
Plug-in hybrids effectively have two energy sources – electric and petrol. Owners can drive their PHEV as electric vehicles for the majority of journeys, usually short drives, often in stop-go traffic (where traditional petrol and diesel engines are at their least efficient). PHEVs contribute to cleaner air in cities by using EV mode wherever possible and burning no fuel when stopped or in heavy traffic.
PHEVs can then automatically employ an efficient petrol engine on longer journeys, thereby overcoming the issues facing pure electric vehicles for the immediate future; those of limited electric range, relatively long charging times and the nascent nature of the charging infrastructure in the UK.
With around 1% of new car buyers in the UK opting for a pure electric vehicle, the government risks missing numerous environmental targets, not least its goal of having half of all new cars classified as ultra-low emission vehicles by 2030.
Plug-in hybrid vehicles have an additional benefit in that they help familiarise consumers with electric vehicles, providing the perfect segue to a pure electric future. In fact, the survey reveals that 25% of current Outlander PHEV owners surveyed are most likely to consider a pure electric vehicle for their next purchase.
Mitsubishi Motors has sold 45,000 examples of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, giving it the widest and most diverse possible survey base.
Its WLTP emissions and economy figures are 46g/km CO2 and 139mpg respectively and its WLTP pure electric range is 28 electric miles (WLTP).