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Revhead Ramblings: Say Goodbye to Mainstream Hybrid Tech

Toyota Pioneered the self-charging hybrid in the 90s, other than Honda, few manufacturers took notice. When Europe got serious with emissions though, they scrambled to catch up.

The thing is, having a hybrid engine doesn’t automatically make a car environmentally friendly. They must be driven correctly to reap the benefits and these skills are only possessed by a small number of owners.

The Rise of Hybrids

When Europe and the US began announcing stricter emission laws, manufacturers realised they couldn’t get near the required figures without hybridisation and electrification. Unfortunately, regulations are due to become even tighter in the next few years; Europe has fleet average targets of 95g/km by 2020-2021 for example.

This would have just about been achievable with the NEDC testing method as it didn’t give a true representation of everyday driving. For example, during the two and half minute stationary period, cars fitted with stop-start technology used no fuel at all. This obviously had a huge effect on the final rating and is one of the reasons recommended fuel economy is unattainable.

Big Names Dropping the Technology

Plenty of rumours surfaced that led us to believe the new BMW M3 and VW Golf GTI would be hybrids. Top level management decisions axed both ideas however. Why the U-turns you ask? The emission savings from hybrid tech aren’t enough to justify the huge development costs needed to make it happen. The added weight of the batteries and motors will also disrupt the ethos of these cars.

Fleet Averages

For the likes of Toyota, their fleet average should sit comfortably under the 95g/km, despite new tests adding 8g/km to their petrol-electric Prius. For the likes of BMW and VW though, some hybrid technology won’t be enough to tip their larger and heavier fleets far enough to avoid these fines. Therefore, hybrid projects are being axed as the subsequent price increase and corresponding fall in sales isn’t worth it.

Jumping to EVs

To avoid these huge fines, jumping straight to fully electric technology is the only answer. You’ll notice that over the next couple of years the biggest manufacturers in the industry have multiple electric vehicles planned. While plenty of us will be thankful our favourite manufacturer is switching to green technology, their rush to develop the technology is purely for selfish reasons.

Great for Driving Enthusiasts

Now that the attention has turned away from hybridising every car in their range, our favourite performance cars can continue getting lighter, sharper and more exciting. Electric technology will also become more refined and offer more range with each charge, making the eventual switch away from internal combustion engines that bit easier.

To ensure you don’t miss out on any of Alex’s ‘Revhead Ramblings‘ be sure to follow him on Twitter at @AlexClickDealer!

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