When I was planning to buy a new car eight years ago I naturally asked my son
who acts as consultant to many major manufacturers for his advice. One of the things I remember
him saying was “Don’t buy a hybrid”. One of his reasons was that most of the
time you are lugging around a great lump of copper and iron which is doing
nothing and for a little of the time you will be lugging around a great lump of
iron and aluminium that’s doing nothing.
In the intervening eight years technology has moved on a bit but official records show that the batteries in most plug in hybrids are never charged, hence the government rightly removing the subsidy on them.
Toyota in particular has made no investment in electric cars and has instead invested in expensive advertisements for perpetual motion machines which it calls self-charging hybrids evidently oblivious to the fact that every bit of energy it consumes comes from petrol. In most of Europe the adverts have been banned but not in the UK.
The technology is no different to that in the original Prius 22 years ago.
The well advertised C-HR model can be seen on YouTube travelling up to a mile at no more than 30 miles per hour on battery power before the petrol engine kicks in.
The larger Camry uses a 245 volt 1.6 kilowatt hour Nickel Metal Hydride battery, a battery technology which gave way to Lithium Ion 20 years ago because basically they are not very good. The motor is only 88 kilowatts (118 horsepower) to push along a gross weight of 2,100 kilograms. More than 25% heavier than my own car with 58% of the electric power and just over half the torque.
In theory a heavy footed driver could flatten that battery in 66 seconds although that is a very unfair calculation. On the same basis mine will only keep going for 73 minutes when in practice I have driven it for more than five hours before nearly flattening the battery.
Who would recommend the purchase of a hybrid Toyota?
Err Bexley Council Leader Teresa O’Neill perhaps?
The only justification would be if journeys were always restricted to just a couple of miles; maybe they will be.