Cars Opinion: if diesel is dying, hybrid might be in need of a health check soon

14:26  12 september  2017
14:26  12 september  2017 Source:   Autocar

Volkswagen scrappage scheme for old diesel cars launched

  Volkswagen scrappage scheme for old diesel cars launched A total of £10,000 can now be saved on the zero-emissions e-GolfAlso include is the firm’s range of electric or plug-in cars: the Golf GTE, Passat GTE, e-Up and e-Golf. A hefty £5,500 incentive is available on the e-Golf; when combined with the £4,500 government Plug-in Car Grant, this equals a whopping saving of £10,000.

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Opinion: if diesel is dying, hybrid might be in need of a health check soon© Autocar Opinion: if diesel is dying, hybrid might be in need of a health check soon

It was a chance conversation with someone very senior and credible in the motor industry that completely changed the way I’m thinking about the Frankfurt show.

Before this conversation, my thoughts were full of Touring spec Porsche 911 GT3s, rear-wheel drive Audi R8s and, of course, the extraordinary Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar.

And then the conversation. The thrust of it was that we all know our future is electric so we might as well stop messing about and get on with it.

And there is plenty of evidence to suggest that electric cars are on the point of becoming status symbols; some would argue that, with Tesla, they are already there.

Toyota becomes latest car maker to offer scrappage scheme

  Toyota becomes latest car maker to offer scrappage scheme Toyota is now offering up to £4000 of savings when trading in cars more than seven years' oldThe initiative offers savings of up to £4000 when trading in any Toyota model more than seven years’ old and owned by a customer for at least six months.

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Moreover, or so the thinking goes, if just one major city denies access to just one of its more prestigious districts to all bar fully electric cars, it will be the first of many dominoes to fall in quick succession around the world.

In remarkably little time and for many millions of people, electric car ownership will stop being an impractical extravagance and start becoming a very real necessity.

Opinion: if diesel is dying, hybrid might be in need of a health check soon© Autocar Opinion: if diesel is dying, hybrid might be in need of a health check soon

But what of the twin whammies of range and charging times?

The short answer is that both have already improved hand over fist in recent years, the rate will only increase and we’ll put up with and adapt to whatever flaws remain because, compared with being legislated off the road, they don’t really add up to very much.

Toyota becomes latest car maker to offer scrappage scheme

  Toyota becomes latest car maker to offer scrappage scheme Toyota is now offering up to £4000 of savings when trading in cars more than seven years' oldThe initiative offers savings of up to £4000 when trading in any Toyota model more than seven years’ old and owned by a customer for at least six months.

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All of which begs a very interesting question: what about hybrid? The view was that the technology is as a walking stick to an already able-bodied person: a needless impediment that just gets in the way.

Stern stuff, you’ll agree, but even I have long pondered the future of a system that requires a car to carry two completely separate powertrains, neither capable of operating at peak efficiency at the same time and each shouldering the mass of the other when it is not in use.

Hybrids add weight, complexity, eat space and natural resources, and I’ve still not driven one that categorically makes the car to which it is attached better to drive.

Opinion: if diesel is dying, hybrid might be in need of a health check soon© Autocar Opinion: if diesel is dying, hybrid might be in need of a health check soon

I don’t know how realistic this vision is, or how long it will take. I can see pure electric powertrains working brilliantly in both small city cars and large luxury limousines, but the Ford Fiestas and VW Golfs of this world too? I think they will be last to the party.

Uber drivers to be forced into hybrids or EVs in UK by 2022

  Uber drivers to be forced into hybrids or EVs in UK by 2022 Diesel and petrol drivers working for Uber in London will have to switch to a hybrid or a fully electric car by 2020 , the company announced today. As part of its new £150 million “clean air” fund, Uber said it’s 40,000 drivers in London will only be offered hybrid or electric models on UberX by 2020. However, with many of the company's drivers already using a variety of hybrid models such as the Toyota Prius, most will already meet the future criteria. By 2022, Uber wants to extend the policy cover all 40 UK cities it operates in, and by 2025 is aiming to have a fully electric fleet in London.

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But, for the first time, I was able to see a time when hybrids – at least as we know them today – will have had their day.

But there is another kind of hybrid, one that uses a hydrogen fuel cell as its primary source of energy, but in conjunction with a lithium ion battery pack that can be charged from a plug or from energy harvested from braking.

This might offer the best of both worlds because, unlike a conventional plug-in hybrid, both technologies drive the same electric motor that powers the car and so are infinitely more harmoniously integrated, not to mention clean. Just such a car will be launched at Frankfurt.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell will be a standard production model, it will go on sale to private buyers, can travel 310 miles between fills and, crucially, takes just three minutes to replenish its hydrogen tanks.

Sadly, despite the fact it will be built in right hand drive, it will not be sold in the UK – with no meaningful hydrogen infrastructure, customers would have nowhere to fill it.

We always knew petrol/electric hybrids were a bridging technology and the question was always how long the bridge would be. From what I’ve heard and what I expect to see in Frankfurt, they are going to be around for a while yet.


Plug-in hybrid Range Rover and Range Rover Sport due .
Land Rover bosses confirm plug-in petrol-electric powertrains are coming to big Range Rover and Range Rover Sport due The Ran are to gain plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variants towards the end of the year, company bosses have confirmed.Speaking at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) CEO Dr Ralf Speth confirmed Range Rovers would be the first models to benefit from the company’s recently announced strategy to offer all of its vehicles with some form of electrification by 2020.

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