Mercedes is back in the environmental dock yet again. Plugin hybrids, which combine a combustion engine and electric drivetrain are not as friendly to the environment as first realized. Emissions firing squads are lining up ready to execute plugin-hybrids which are now viewed as a bellwether for high fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Research has shown that an overwhelming majority of plugin hybrid owners don’t even run in electric mode. Diesel plugin hybrids never made any sense. They are heavy and no more efficient than a non-hybridized diesel.
And people, specifically environmental lobbyists, are starting to question the true environmental viability of plugin-in hybrid vehicles. Could they become the next dieselgate? Not according to the Daimler boss, AKA Mercedes Benz. Citing new technology, plugin hybrid vehicles are seeing better gains. Daimler Benz CEO, Ola Kallenius, recently stated in an interview:
“When it comes to plug-in hybrids, we are now on the third generation of those cars, but a lot of the talk about them is still based on data from the first generation where the batteries were smaller and the range was shorter. Many customers can drive back and forth to work for the whole week in full-electric mode.”
While manufacturers will continue to make efficiency gains, there is no future for plugin hybrids, Ola knows this. However, car companies such as Mercedes are keen to extend production for as long as possible before they are banned completely. Why is that? It’s very simple… sales. Mercedes will make and sell plugin hybrids to maximize its initial investment in the technology.
Mercedes will want to sell as many as they can. But market share for plugin hybrids is already in decline. So why is Mercedes persisting with the technology? that is the unsolved mystery.