Sometimes there are really surprising emails in my inbox. A few days ago there was a newsletter from one of the largest car leasing companies in the world, LeasePlan. It advised its clients to not choose a plugin hybrid (PHEV) for their next car in the Netherlands. Because it is in Dutch and I think you should read it for yourself, I have translated the article.
LeasePlan has over 1.9 million cars on the road in over 30 countries. It is a member of EV100, a global group of companies dedicated to supporting the transition to 100% CO2-free transport by 2030. If I understand it correctly, what they do is lead by example and push their business partners to follow their example. LeasePlan has the goal of having its own employee fleet 100% electric by 2021, and having zero CO2 emissions from its 1.9 million large fleet of lease vehicles on the road by 2030.
This is not financial auto leasing as practiced in the USA. These are full-operational type leases. The main function of LeasePlan is fleet management. There are few organizations (perhaps none) that know more about costs and use of cars in the first years after they are bought than LeasePlan. Its opinion counts. It is not based on theory, but on hard numbers collected over years.
In other CleanTechnica articles, we explain what is wrong with the many new PHEVs European carmakers use to comply with new CO2 regulations, and why customers should not buy them. This is another view from a large automotive industry insider. Normally, I would place a link to the source, explain it in a few sentences, and comment on it. But in this case, in between the lines below is the complete translated article.
Stop business leasing plug-in hybrid cars!
14 Juli 2020
Why do plug-in hybrid cars seem so attractive for business leasing? But they don’t deliver the benefit you expect. We explain it in this blog.
Plug-in hybrid seems attractive
More and more business lease drivers are opting for a plug-in hybrid. That’s not surprising, because there is more and more choice. And because the estimated fuel costs are so low, the monthly lease price of a plug-in hybrid fits more easily within the lease budget. In addition, it is very attractive for the employer: a car with low CO2 emissions, even with the new way of measuring emissions (WLTP).
What are plug-in hybrids?
Well, those are fuel cars with a small battery, which can also drive a few kilometers electrically and be charged through the power outlet. At first glance very attractive, because you drive more economically than the dealer has in the leaflet: short distances drive and load at the place where you park. Read more about the difference between electric cars and hybrid cars.
Here’s the difference (in Dutch)
What happens in real life?
The real fuel costs of plug-in hybrids are on average 2 to 3 times higher than previously estimated. Take, for example, the Mitsubishi Outlander, which has a fuel consumption of 2 litres per 100 km. From analysis by the fuel card supplier Travel Card and testing done by TNO (Dutch National Laboratory for applied scientific research), a consumption of 7.21 liters per 100 km is measured. That’s 260% more! Oops, there goes the cost and environmental benefits.
The lease driver often does not drive small distances and cannot always charge when parking the car. Charging requires discipline. Being first in line when arriving at a charging station when visiting the beach is of course pleasant, but looking for a charging station and then a walk, that’s not what most lease drivers choose. The result is more kilometers on environmentally unfriendly fuel and higher costs.
Plug-in hybrids are often environmentally unfriendly
There are even a large number of lease drivers who don’t charge at all and so the plug-in hybrid changes from an environmentally friendly car to an environmentally unfriendly car: The battery makes plug-in hybrids heavier than comparable fuel models: more energy and therefore more emissions needed to cover the same distance on fuel.
What can you do?
Our advice to employers: leave those plug-in hybrids! Opt for all-electric cars to make the fleet more sustainable. As an organization, aren’t you ready for electric? Or do you have any doubts? Please contact us: our own fleet is already fully electric and we are happy to help you with our experiences! Not convinced? From now on, only opt for petrol or hybrid cars without a plug. You will then have a grip on your costs and the environmental consequences.
These experiences are from before the EU mandate to have an average CO2 emission of 95 gr/km over the total fleet sold in a year. These are from the time that at least a part of the PHEV buyers were environmentally motivated. The current crop of PHEV buyers are mostly motivated by the sales pitch of their dealer.
Nowadays it is easy. When you are a bit motivated, you order a BEV. There’s less hassle plugging in frequently because of the far larger battery, and you always drive CO2 free. Without the motivation to plug in, buy a vehicle without a plug, preferably a hybrid. Your fuel consumption and costs will be predictable, no surprises.
There are exceptions. In Northern Sweden, Finland, other sparsely populated regions, or regions without great charging infrastructure, a PHEV can be a smart choice. The Netherlands is the charging paradise of the world. That makes the choice different.
Here’s a final comment from LeasePlan: “This message is particularly applicable for the Dutch market. The ICE vehicles leased in the Netherlands tend to have a low CO2 value (because of how the registration tax works) and replacing these with large PHEVs doesn’t offer environmental benefits. This situation is different in other markets, in which a PHEV can actually provide environmental benefits when replacing an ICE vehicle with a high CO2 value.”