Plug-in vehicle: combining the best of all worlds or a bluff?

Plug-in vehicle: combining the best of all worlds or a bluff?

In the past year, about 14 models of plug-in vehicles (a hybrid vehicle with an enlarged battery, which can be charged and driven for an electric distance of several tens of kilometers) were sold in Israel. This was a new record, led by MG EHS with around 5,000 units sold, and Kia Niro with 3,700.

Kia Niro (Photo: Kia)

Apparently a plug-in vehicle combines the best of all worlds. On the one hand, even the basic models today provide a realistic electric range of about 40 km, which is enough for most drivers for the daily commute to work and back. At night, they charge in the home parking lot, and again the next day. Do you have a long drive waiting for you at the weekend?

You drive until the battery is dead, and then you are left with a relatively economical hybrid vehicle, and without the range anxiety that owners of pure electric cars have. These do have a much longer electric range, but when the battery runs out, they must find a charging station on the way, without a backup.

The use of a relatively small battery lowers the price compared to a 100% electric vehicle that needs a battery five or even six times larger to ensure the requested range of about 400 km for a full charge, and also saves the use of expensive raw materials such as aluminum and copper.

On the other hand, studies in Europe and the US claim that the plug-in vehicles are a bluff. A kind of going with and feeling without. They are indeed able to make the daily trip on electricity, but the knowledge that the gasoline engine exists causes many to avoid paying attention to charging the battery.

The estimates that governments and municipalities would allow entry into the city centers only with electric drive, so that the owners of the plug-in vehicles would not be left out, ultimately did not materialize, and so the plug-in vehicles, which in tests according to European standards show fantastic figures of consumption of one liter of gasoline per 50-100 km “m, actually achieve fuel consumption quite similar to that of gasoline cars of the same size. This is because even when their battery is empty, they still carry the heavy weight of about 200 kg of an uncharged hybrid vehicle, which affects performance and fuel consumption.

In recent years, around the world, tax benefits for plug-in cars have begun to be abolished, in order to direct drivers to purchase pure electrics. In Israel, too, in 2019, an outline of the gradual cancellation of the tax benefits for such vehicles was approved, and as part of it, on January 1, the tax imposed on them increased from 40% to 55% – after in 2019 it was still 20%. Next year the tax reduction will be canceled completely.

And yet the automobile industry claims that this is an effective transportation and environmental solution, certainly in an era of battery shortages. In response to the criticism, car manufacturers are extending the electric range further and further, and many models, mainly Chinese ones, offer an electric range of more than 100 kilometers. The customers, who fear being stuck with pure electrics because of the missing charging infrastructure, continue to purchase them.

Also in 2023, ten new plug-in models will be launched in Israel, in addition to the new Toyota Prius that is reviewed for the first time in these pages, which will try to fight the lack of trust of the regulators – a lack of trust that, at least at the moment, the public does not seem to share.

Wey Kofi 01 > This month, the first vehicles of the new Chinese luxury car brand, of the Chinese Great Wall, hit the roads. The first model is a crossover with 476 hp, a 39 kWh battery and a promise of an electric range of 146 km, which is really able to cover most trips. The price, for the large car that is also well equipped: NIS 270,000.

Link & Co 01 > The young luxury brand of China’s Geely, Volvo’s parent company, was launched here earlier this month with a plug-in twin to the Volvo XC40. The 01 has a battery with a capacity of 17.6 kWh and an electric travel capacity of 75 km “according to the book”, and in practice, in the test we conducted for it, of about 60 km. The price starts at NIS 230,000.

Link and Co (photo: manufacturer)Link and Co (photo: manufacturer)

Mercedes GLC300e > The Europeans also share the trend of extending the range. The plug-in hybrid version of the renewed GLC, which was launched back in December, is hitting Israel’s roads for the first time this month. It is equipped with a 31 kWh battery, twice as much as its predecessor, which extended the declared range three times to 119 km. The price also increased: from NIS 550,000.

Mercedes (photo: manufacturer)Mercedes (photo: manufacturer)

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross > This week, Mitsubishi also joined the trend with a rechargeable version of its well-known Jeep. The Eclipse Cross Plug-in has a 2,400 cc gasoline engine operating in the economical Atkinson cycle, with a capacity of 98 hp. It is joined by a pair of electric motors on the front and rear axles, which gives it dual drive on the road and a power of 188 hp. The 13.8 kWh battery provides, according to the manufacturer’s data, an official range of 45 km in electric drive and enables a combined fuel consumption of 50 km m per liter. But the price is not low: from NIS 220,000. That is, up to 60 thousand shekels more than the equivalent gasoline model.

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (photo: manufacturer)Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (photo: manufacturer)

Mitsubishi Outlander > In the previous generation, the Outlander was one of the pioneers of technology in Israel, the new generation continues to innovate. The plug-in version will have seven seats, not five as before, an increased battery to 20 kWh, and a significantly increased range to an official 87 km. As in the previous generation, the 2.4-liter gasoline engine is mainly used as a generator to charge the battery, so that it operates when necessary at a constant and economical rpm. However, the price will be significantly higher than that of the gasoline Outlander, and closer to the Kia Sorento Plug-in. Arrival in Israel – later this year.

  Mitsubishi Outlander (photo: manufacturer) Mitsubishi Outlander (photo: manufacturer)

Kia Niro > The brand new generation that will be launched in Israel next month will also have a plug-in version alongside a regular and electric hybrid. It is still based on a 1.6-liter gasoline engine, but now the combined power with the electric engine already stands at 184 hp. The battery has increased to 11.1 kWh, and the electric range to more than 60 km. At the same time, the Niro Plus model will continue to be sold, Based on the first generation Niro, also in a discounted plug-in version, with only an 8.9 kWh battery and an official range of 46 km.

Kia Niro (Photo: Kia)Kia Niro (Photo: Kia)

Seres 5 > After the Seres 3, which was and remains a cheap, simple and rather outdated electric Jeep, will arrive in the land of the brand’s advanced and expensive crossover, which belongs to the Chinese Dongfeng. A well-designed and well-equipped vehicle, which, in addition to an electric version, also offers a plug-in version, a 1.5-liter turbo engine, which, together with an electric engine, produces 300-640 hp, depending on whether it is rear- or dual-wheel drive, and with a 40 kWh battery, which provides an official range of 170 km. Launch in Israel is expected next month.

Seres 5 (Photo: Seres)Seres 5 (Photo: Seres)

Cupra Leon PHEV > The Spanish compact is finally getting a plug-in hybrid version in Israel as well. A 1,400 cc gasoline engine and an electric motor together provide 245 hp, and an electric range of 60 km, supported by a 12.8 kWh battery. Marketing in Israel is expected as early as next month.

Copra Leon PHEV (Photo: Public Relations)Copra Leon PHEV (Photo: Public Relations)

Mazda CX-60 > The manufacturer is starting to close the electrification gap with the rest of the industry. The new crossover, larger and more expensive than the CX5, features a drive system from Toyota, a 2.5-liter gasoline engine, and the power is combined with the 325 hp electric motor. The 17.8 kWh battery is enough for a declared range of 63 km. The launch is expected towards June .

Mazda (photo: manufacturer)Mazda (photo: manufacturer)

Peugeot 408 > Peugeot already has a plug-in hybrid drive system that comes to us with the 3008, and it will also land in the manufacturer’s new vehicle, some crossovers, some sedans. The combined electricity-gasoline power is 225 hp, based on a 1.6 liter gasoline engine, and the battery has a capacity of 12.4 kWh, which provides an official range of 63 km. Launch in Israel: in the second half of the year.

Peugeot 408 (Photo: Peugeot)Peugeot 408 (Photo: Peugeot)

Jeep Wrangler 4Xe > in the US is already the best-selling plug-in. In the green version of the off-road icon, the familiar 2-liter engine is the basis for the rechargeable version, and together with two electric motors provides 380 hp, an increase of about 100 hp for the regular gasoline version. The performance is better, and also the official fuel consumption which stands at 21.3 km per liter. The electric range is about 40 km. It will increase in the second half of the year.

Jeep Wrangler 4Xe (photo: manufacturer)Jeep Wrangler 4Xe (photo: manufacturer)

Land Rover Defender > Another off-road icon that adapts itself to the new world. The new generation of the Defender received a plug-in hybrid version based on a 2-liter gasoline engine, which together with the electric motor together produce 404 hp. The 19.2 kWh battery enables an electric range of 43 km and an official combined consumption of 30.3 km per liter, but Comes at the expense of the third row of seats. Landing in Israel is expected in the second half of the year.

Land Rover Defender (photo: manufacturer)Land Rover Defender (photo: manufacturer)
Land Rover Defender (photo: manufacturer)Land Rover Defender (photo: manufacturer)

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