Why EVs Won’t Replace Hybrid Cars Anytime Soon | Jobs Reply


Several major car companies, including GM and Volvo, have announced plans to build only electric cars by 2035 or earlier in anticipation of the shift. But not all automakers are on the same page.

Notably, Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, has stressed that it plans to offer a range of options, including hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles, rather than focusing exclusively on electric cars. A Toyota spokesperson told MIT Technology Review that the company is focused on how to reduce carbon emissions faster than how many cars it can sell of a certain type.

The company continues to release new hybrid vehicles, including plug-in hybrids that can drive short distances on electricity using a small battery. In November, Toyota announced the 2023 version of its Prius Prime, a plug-in hybrid.

Some environmental groups have criticized the company’s slow move on EVs. To reach zero emissions, they argue, we’ll need all-electric cars, and the sooner the better.

But in a recent interview, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda cast doubt on how quickly the auto industry can pull a U-turn on fossil fuels, calling the U.S. goal of having EVs make up half of new car sales by 2030 a “tough ask.” Toyota plans to reach 3.5 million EV sales by 2030 (or 35% of its current annual sales), the company also sees hybrids as an affordable option that consumers will want and that can play an important role in reducing emissions.

A tale of two hybrids

Two different classes of vehicles are called hybrids. Conventional hybrid electric vehicles have a small battery that helps the gas-powered engine recover energy while driving, such as energy that would otherwise be lost during braking. They can’t drive more than a few miles on battery power, and slowly. Rather, the battery helps increase gas mileage and can provide additional torque. The original Toyota Prius models are among the best-known traditional hybrid cars.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles, on the other hand, have a battery that is about 10 times larger than a conventional hybrid vehicle, and that battery can be plugged in and charged using electricity. Plug-in hybrids can typically run 25 to 50 miles on electricity, switching to their gasoline engine for longer distances. Prius Prime, introduced in 2012, is a plug-in hybrid.

Conventional hybrids are far more common than all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles in the United States, although electric vehicle sales have grown rapidly over the past few years.



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