What’s thedifference between a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid? What is their range? Where can you recharge them? These were some of the questions posed by automotive website, FleetPoint, to Josep Bons (pictured), the head of electric and electronic development at vehicle manufacturer, SEAT.
There are three kinds of vehicles that run on electricity to a greater or lesser extent: firstly, the dual engine hybrid, with a primary combustion engine and an electric motor, where the battery recharges when the vehicle reduces speed; secondly, the plug-in hybrid, where the battery can also be recharged directly by plugging it in; finally, the 100% electric car, with an exclusively electric engine and plug-in rechargeable battery.
The European Commission has set a target of 40% of total new car sales to be zero or low emission, those emitting less than 50g/km of CO2, by 2030. For 2025 the goal is 20%.
Recharging points are either public or private. Any user can have a charging station installed in their personal or communal parking garage as long as it is carried out by an authorised professional and meets all legal requirements.
In fact, it is estimated that 70% of all recharging takes place at home and at work. In any event, if you need to recharge the car on the road, the power supply network is growing every day. There are now about 100,000 charging stations in the EU and by 2025, the European Commission expects this figure to increase 20 times, up to two million stations.
Recharging time is also gradually going down. For example, the SEAT el-Born will feature a range of 420km after recharging for just 47 minutes. And on top of this, the implementation of ultra-rapid charging points will fully charge the batteries in only ten minutes. To make long trips easy, next year Europe will have a network of 400 quick recharging stations (350 kW) located every 120km.
The batteries provide a range of between 200 to more than 400km. With the SEAT el-Born, the range will be up to 420km without recharging. Their duration will depend on how the car is used, as unlike cars equipped with a combustion engine, electric vehicles consume less in city driving.
“We are currently preparing a product portfolio that will enable choosing the range according to the expected use of the vehicle, so there will be different battery capacity options to meet the needs of all kinds of users,” said Josep Bons.
In this regard, SEAT is going to launch six new electric and plug-in hybrid models by the beginning of 2021.
They are considered zero local emissions vehicles by the very definition of an electric car. In addition, they are also more sustainable from the standpoint of the vehicle’s global life cycle, producing from 17% to 30% fewer emissions when compared with a diesel or petrol vehicle. “And if the battery is also recharged with sustainably produced energy, such as wind or solar, then emissions amount to nearly 90% less than those of a conventional car throughout its entire life cycle,” Bons said.
Several incentives are being applied in Europe in order to promote the purchase and use of zero local emissions vehicles. In some countries, such as Norway, there is a direct tax reduction when buying an electric vehicle. In Germany, France and Spain there are buying incentives and many European cities offer specific benefits including free parking and tolls, privileged access lanes and free access of these vehicles to restricted traffic zones.
Electric vehicles are getting increasingly affordable. In fact, SEAT and the Volkswagen Group are committed to making electric cars “for millions of people rather than for millionaires”. Technological improvements help lower the price on electric models. For example, the cost of the batteries has gone down by 80% in the past decade.
Another thing to factor in is that the cost of electricity is considerably lower than that of petrol or diesel. Furthermore, it is estimated that it only costs a third as much to maintain an electric car compared to a vehicle equipped with a conventional engine. And finally, buyers in most countries can be eligible for public grants or tax reductions when purchasing an electric car.
Thibault Alleyn, who heads up Fleet Logistics’ consultancy through the independent FleetVision business, said: “The time has come for large fleet operators to adjust their procurement strategies, their eligibility-selection-usage policies and their cost monitoring processes accordingly towards EVs. Given the long term importance of this shift, such preparation should not be rushed through without adequate and independent guidance.
“We have been working with numerous large clients on this, and notice that while most are open to the idea of electrified cars, the numbers which are properly prepared are, as yet, very limited.
“This is where our expertise comes in and we are happy to provide guidance to any clients that wish to embark down a route towards greater electrification,” he said.
Please contact Thibault Alleyn at FleetVision at email@example.com for more details.