Plug in hybrids are my favorite. They act like a pure electric vehicle in town for most uses, and can be a traditional ICE vehicle for long trips, the best of both worlds. The newest Chevy Volts supposedly can get 50 miles on pure electric mode (no ICE involvement), and 41 mpg sustained driving. Here in Arizona, solar power for homes is popular, a plug in hybrid or fully electric car could have zero electricity (fuel) cost for a solar household.
I'm with itripper, a plug in gas hybrid certainly looks appealing here in the states. Granted, it really is a question of where you live. I wish plug in hybrids were offered in more markets.
If you buy a plug in hybrid made in the US, you get a really healthy bottom line tax credit making the initial purchase price look more attractive. You also get a healthy bottom line tax credit for any solar cells that generate electricity you may install for your home. If the vehicle will operate as full electric (on electricity you generate), ICE or, full gas -- gee, that sounds like the best way to operate.
I'm all for choice, the car market is broader now than it ever was, and plug ins make great sense if you live and/or work in a city and travel alot of city miles to get to and from work. They make less sense in the country side where charge points are few and far between and your "average" journey is quite long. I think anyone rushing into buying a hybrid should hold back a while, they are constantly being developed and the range on the battery is getting longer and longer. A 250 mile range on battery alone as per the all electric Tesla, is more like it, not the silly 15 to 30 miles you get now!
My mum has solar panels (in North Yorkshire!),and boasts about selling surplus electricity back to the grid, so i'm sure it could be used instead to freely charge a PHEV... I've just had 3 extra urban tanks, over 1,900 miles at pretty much 70 mpg average. The official figures for my car state over 94 mpg extra urban, which i ve long complained about, but thats nowt compared to that PHEV figure shortfall!
I found it ironic, each time I have been to Florida, and travelled thousands of miles when there, I didn't see one solar panel, not one and that's supposedly the "sunshine state"! 70 MPG is still good Ben, I had my best tank too last fuel up, must be the warm weather, although I did use Shell's fuel save diesel so maybe that helped. You're only going to get 90+ Mpg if you use hypermile techniques, my best was about 96 mpg, but it's really not worth it. The phev figures are even more exsadurated. Read any test and you'll notice that they average way below the stated economy. The Audi A3 plug in is rated at 178 mpg, in a recent test with a full charge, and then a recharge by the car itself, it only got 67 mpg. All that expensive technology and it still only averaged less than a small diesel. The diesel A3 is £6000 cheaper too, so if the European union wants to get people off diesels, they are going to have to try harder than that!
My worst tank ever was on shell nitro (vpower, or whatever their top brand, max price fuel is) - i got 47 mpg! Whether it disagreed with my car, or i was sold a short measure, i ve not been back to a shell garage since i think.
A local pricey regulare gulf station tends to give me my highest figures, so i keep filling up there now, whereas i used to test more brands and grades. Not used any redex additive in this car- do you use it?
I've not used Redex yet as the car is still new, but talking to a friend of a friend who owns a Motor oil company, he said it won't do it any harm every few months to do a tankful with an additive, I think he mentioned a brand called Forte or something similar, so might give it a go and see what happens next tank!
In the US, the majority of people buying plug ins have garage, or at least a driveway to install a basic charger. So they start everyday with a full charge. Some work places even offer charging. Then it is a matter of the commute length whether a BEV or PHEV is worth it to a person.
The longer the EV range, the less impact the ICE efficiency will have on annual fuel costs. Some still complain about the Volt not getting the 50mpg that GM was targeting, but if the 38 miles of EPA EV covers your daily commute, how many owners are going to actually care how much gas they burn on the weekly grocery run and a couple of trips in the year.
The fuel economy of a PHV isn't the primary metric a potential buyer should be looking at. It is EV range and the length of their daily drive. If the PHV they are looking at doesn't have the range to cover a majority of their drive, then the fuel economy becomes important.
Yes, a small diesel can have a better efficiency rating, but it burns fuel everytime it is started up. A PHV could get you where you are going without burning a drop.
I'd rather have a car with one power source and one fuel source, that gives consistently good economy overall, rather than kidding myself into thinking I'm saving a fortune by buying a very expensive hybrid that need charging every single day or more. On a long trip, if you have no chance to charge, most hybrids are just a regular car with pretty average economy and emissions anyway. Just my opinion of course