Thought of the Day: Plug-in Hybrid Love (or is it Hate?)

Welcome to Thought of the Day! Join Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield as she poses a question for you all to think about and answer.

Today, following last week’s release of official fuel economy figures for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan, we’re asking if the electric vehicle world are just a little too mean toward plug-in hybrid and range-extended EV owners. From bemoaning those who own a 20-30 mile plug-in hybrid to those who say they’re not real EVs, we’ve seen lots of hate aimed towards those who don’t drive a purely electric vehicle.

Is that a justified response? Or an immature one? And shouldn’t we be nicer to any car with a plug? Watch the video above, and leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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  • Martin Lacey

    Any electric miles driven should be applauded. Look at the billions of electric miles Toyota plugin hybrids have done. As Toyota now sell a million hybrids a year, we can only hope that hybrid owners max their electric miles!

    That said, I rather we all drove electric miles only. If I can manage 12-15k in a 24 kWh Leaf, then most folks can live without the pump and fumes!

    The second hand market for EV’s is growing and those who choose a new hybrid over a good, cheap second hand EV have to ask themselves why. Is it “snobbery” or “practicality” or “uncertainty”. Only they know!

  • Surya

    Calling a PHEV an electric car is hard for me. In my mind an electric car is something that drives on electricity exclusively.

    But I agree that we should be happy when people replace non hybrid gas burners with plug-in gas burners. We should also be hopeful that they will like the pure electric driving so much their next car will be an EV.

    I don’t begrudge people who drive PHEVs, but I do hope that if there is an EV on the market that fits their needs, that they at least take a very good look at it and not go for the PHEV because they don’t feel ready to make the jump.

    • MIG Auto Transport

      Exactly. PHEVs are for people not totally ready for a full EV but as EV tech becomes more adopted I think PHEVs will be phased out.

  • Mark

    Great discussion point
    We have 2 PHEV and have travelled near 100,000 km and used a total of 350 litres of fuel.
    Living approx 80 km from our main city they completely work for us.

  • Bruce A Johnson

    While I agree that any electrification is a good thing, it feels quite different when I get to the charger in my garage at work and there are two Volts plugged in. Depending on where I came from, I might *need that charge to get home.* By definition, the Volts *don’t.* They have what I call a “parachute,” and we Leaf owners chose to go without it. So yeah, I feel strongly both ways. BTW, has anyone actually *driven* a Pacifica Hybrid? I drive a lot of Dodge Caravans in my work, and if the Pacifica is anything like the Caravans, it’ll be a cold day in hell when I buy a Chrysler anything.

  • CDspeed

    I pulled into the mall last Christmas in my i3, and all the J1772 charging spaces were taken up by Chevrolet Volts I’m not kidding. They have a total range over 300 miles with their gasoline engine, and had my situation in my 80 to 100 mile i3 been more desperate I would have been screwed. So that part of plug-in hybrid discrimination is well founded, you can get blocked by cars that can technically do without. And you do see manufacturers produce a lineup of plug-in hybrids while producing maybe one little electric car. Take BMW for example, they have several plug-in hybrids ranging from compact sedans to a large SUV all with an electric range around or under 20 miles. While only offering one small electric hatchback, and then they offer it with a gasoline engine so you can opt out of owning a fully electric car. And some automotive news sites do talk about plug-in hybrids as being electric vehicles, so yes manufacturers are using plug-in hybrids as a way to avoid developing fully electric cars, and then the media blurs the lines so they can get away with it.

    I’m happy to see more plug-in cars on the road, and I’d never fault anyone for buying one. But they are preventing model diversity in pure electric cars, and they present a problem in charging etiquette. Manufacturers are getting away with producing one electric model, and owners are frequently charging their cars despite having an onboard plan B. Actually with such short electric ranges it’s more like EV mode is the plan B, and I’m sure that’s the way manufacturers want it. They do have their place but they are just highly efficient gasoline cars in most cases.

  • Dennis Tivey

    My sense is that if you’re driving a PHEV, it’s good etiquette to do your charging at home only, unless of course there’s a whole bank of empty public chargers and you’ll be back soon. It’s admirable to want to use the greenest energy possible, but it’s thoughtless to potentially strand a BEV driver who truly needs to charge at that J1772 space in order to get home. A PHEV never requires public charging: it has a gas tank if the battery runs out, and the battery is small enough to recharge fully at home overnight even on a 110V garage outlet. This is why I don’t own a Volt even though I think they’re great: I don’t have another garage outlet, and I don’t want to be That Guy at a public charger.