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Why EVs won’t replace hybrid cars anytime soon

Major car companies such as GM and Volvo have announced plans to produce only electric vehicles by 2035 in anticipation of the transition. But not all automakers have the same idea.

In particular, Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, has emphasized that it plans to offer a range of options, including hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, instead of focusing solely on electric vehicles. A Toyota spokesperson told his MIT Technology Review that the company is focused on how quickly it can reduce its carbon footprint, not how many cars of a particular type it can sell. .

The company has continued to release new hybrid vehicles, including a plug-in hybrid that can run on electricity for short distances using a small battery. In November, Toyota unveiled his 2023 version of the plug-in hybrid Prius Prime.

Some environmental groups have criticized the company for being slow to move to EVs. Achieving zero emissions requires fully electric vehicles, they argue, and the sooner the better.

But in a recent interview, Toyota’s CEO Akio Toyoda questioned how quickly the auto industry could make a U-turn on fossil fuels, citing US plans to make EVs half of new car sales by 2030. said the goal was a “tough task.” Toyota plans to reach 3.5 million EV sales (or 35% of current annual sales) by 2030, but hybrids remain an affordable option that customers want. , can also play an important role in reducing emissions.

A tale of two hybrids

Vehicles in two different categories are called hybrids. Traditional hybrid electric vehicles have a small battery that helps the gasoline engine by recovering energy while driving, similar to the energy that would otherwise be lost when braking. They can’t drive more than a few miles on battery power. Rather, the battery can improve fuel efficiency and provide additional torque. The original Toyota Prius model is his one of the best known traditional hybrid vehicles.

Plug-in hybrids, on the other hand, have about 10 times more batteries than conventional hybrids, and the batteries can be plugged in and charged with electricity. A plug-in hybrid can typically go 25 to 50 miles on electric, then switch to a petrol engine for longer distances. The Prius Prime, introduced in 2012, is a plug-in hybrid.

Traditional hybrids are much more common than fully electric or plug-in hybrids in the United States, but sales of electric vehicles have grown rapidly over the past few years.