The real electric car revolution has already taken shape with extremely capable plug-in hybrids

2021 Toyota RAV4 XSE AWD_KL_20

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Much of the talk surrounding the so-called “future” of the automotive space has to do with battery-electric cars. EVs are the hot item buyers and automakers are jumping on now, with the latter spending billions and creating all-new product lines that run on electricity alone. 

That push includes both taking major risks with top-selling vehicles and reviving storied nameplates with an electric twist. Ford is hard at work on an all-electric F-150 pickup, America’s favorite four-wheeled conveyance since Ronald Reagan was president. General Motors killed off the Hummer after the financial crisis, but the brand is back as an electric truck under GMC.

Based on marketing alone, it would seem to be game over for the internal-combustion engine. But there’s a significant flaw with that argument: While EVs get the buzz, 98% of all vehicles sold in 2019 ran on some form of a petroleum product.

The EV revolution is already well underway

There’s no denying the need for cleaner cars. The Guardian reported in 2018 that personal cars were the biggest source of carbon-dioxide emissions in the US — a figure aided, no doubt, by our propensity to buying big trucks and SUVs instead of smaller, more fuel-efficient economy cars. 

Thus, the push for EVs. With Tesla leading the charge, both in EV sales and in building out the vital charging infrastructure, we can now count Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Kia, Jaguar, Porsche, Polestar, Audi, and Nissan among the automakers with all-electric offerings. 

State legislatures are getting on board, too, even if the current federal administration isn’t. Most recently, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order will ban the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks starting in 2035 in an aggressive push to reduce emissions.

It’s an ambitious idea, one that buys into the need for an EV revolution. But the real EV revolution — one that’s attainable and realistic for most US buyers, anyway — is already well underway in the form of highly capable plug-in hybrid cars. 

We’ll be the first to admit that hybrid cars suffer from a bit of an image problem. They don’t have the futuristic, space-age design that so many EVs have. They don’t beat supercars in whisper-silent drag races. 

For a long time, when people thought of a hybrid car, they thought of a Toyota Prius — an objectively fine vehicle, but one that was perceived to be driven by tree-huggers and hippies, despite having sold more than 6 million examples since its introduction in the late 1990s.

But hybrids get the job done. You don’t need to make any major life changes to own one, and you don’t need to build out a major, nation-wide fast-charging network for them, either — a costly undertaking that Tesla has committed to, but that other automakers have tried to achieve through partnerships with charging providers to lower expenses and spread around the risk. 

Toyota has always been the hybrid leader

Toyota hybrids have a lock on the situation. The co-author of this story, Matt DeBord, owns a 2017 RAV4 hybrid and …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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