Tesla fan boys and some other industry observers claim that plug-in hybrid vehicles are a needlessly complex and expensive technology and more importantly that consumers will not buy PHEV’s because full battery electric’s (BEV’s) are so much better.
In this video Volvo US CEO Anders Gustafsson explains there is a bright future for Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV), at least in the short run. Volvo will double down on electrification under his leadership and they will promote PHEV’s to most of their buyers. Why would Volvo do this if PHEV’s are a mistake?
Gustafsson explains that consumers that used to gas and diesel powered cars are full of range anxiety when they think of full battery electric cars. Beyond early adopters, most consumers are just not ready to jump into the deep end of electrification without a life guard. A small gas/diesel powered generator under the hood of a PHEV is that life guard:
He says that “If they try (electric), they love it but they are very nervous about the charging situation”. Volvo’s strategy works on that logic that “…it will be easier and cheaper to take (consumers) from a PHEV to a BEV than it is to take them from a combustion engine to a BEV.”
Take a look at there current (pun intended) ad campaign for PHEV’s:
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Gustafsson goes on to say that once you have tried electric “…you would like to use it more. You would like to charge it more you love it.”
So Volvo and other car manufacturers with substantial existing investments in ICE engines will not play the Tesla BEV only game. Through most of the 2020’s PHEV’s will be an excellent bridge technology to eliminate consumer fears of electrification, allow time for charging infrastructure to mature and allow time for many BEV components to be standardized.