Hybrid cars produce far more greenhouse gases than manufacturers declare, according to a new report.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) – which have a petrol or diesel engine to supplement the battery and electric motors to power the car’s wheels – have performed up to 5 times worse than expected, the Committee on Climate Change says.
The results are available in the CCC’s progress report on how effectively the federal government is doing to reduce emissions.
Prime Minister Chris Stark said progress towards net zero has been “worryingly slow” and that the federal government is counting on technological advances akin to carbon sequestration rather than asking people to “reduce their carbon-intensive activities”.
Mr Stark pointed out that transport’s share of the country’s total emissions – the so-called carbon budget – was now much higher than expected.
Plug-in hybrids aren’t as inexperienced as you think: They produce far more greenhouse gases than manufacturers declare, according to a current report.
He stated: “The government now expects emissions from surface transport to exceed the net-zero strategy by the mid-2030s.”
He added that the latest figures from the Federal Government show that the CO2 financial savings from plug-in hybrid cars are “three to five times smaller” than previously thought.
Tory MP Philip Dunn, chairman of the Environment Audit Committee, said the federal government was “risking the climate change leadership of recent years”.
It is not the primary test for the claimed environmental benefits of plug-in hybrids.
A February report showed that the latest PHEVs sold in the UK have three times the carbon emissions of the market when their batteries are fully charged.
Think tank Transport & Environment said that while plug-ins are being touted as a “climate solution” and “a stepping stone to full electrification”, tests carried out in collaboration with the University of Graz in Austria show that the latest models “pollute significantly” more than claimed on movement routes’.
Additional air pollution measurements from three of the latest PHEV vehicles confirmed that they will emit as much as seven times the market’s carbon dioxide emissions during a typical commute through metropolitan areas when their batteries are discharged.
The environmental group has been aware that the UK authorities are to stop offering unprecedented tax breaks to PHEVs until the end of the last decade and ban the sale of new fashion items.
Some hybrid cars are granted a five-year grace period, with UK authorities banning the sale of combustion engine cars for less than seven years.
While new standard petrol and diesel passenger models are likely to be banned from 2030, hybrids that can cover long distances without emissions are likely to remain in showrooms until 2035.
Industry consultants have warned that the UK’s 900,000 electric cars could exacerbate the pothole disaster after new analysis found they cause twice as much damage to roads as their petrol and diesel counterparts.
Analysis by the University of Leeds reveals that a conventional electric car, which is heavier because of its larger battery, puts 2.24 times more load on the floor than petrol and 1.95 times more than diesel.