A study by Mitsubishi has found that two-thirds of owners of their Outlander plug-in hybrid vehicle charge it every day – a stark contrast to Government thinking and press reports that owners simply buy these vehicles for the initial monetary incentives then run them solely on the petrol engine and fail to use the electric powertrain, negating the reduced C02 benefits. In comparison the Mitsubishi-commissioned study found that half of average weekly mileage (90.6 of 179.2 miles) is in EV mode, cutting CO2 emissions and improving air quality in high-traffic areas.
The survey, undertaken by global market-research company Kadence International for Mitsubishi Motors in the UK, showed that fuel economy was amongst the most important deciding factors for 86 per cent of Outlander plug-in hybrid owners, followed by running costs for 85 per cent of drivers and environmental friendliness for 81 per cent. It seems, therefore, that the Government is missing a trick in taking away the plug-in car grant and offering no road tax benefits for plug-in hybrids.
If Outlander plug-in hybrid owners are to make substantial savings, they need to charge their vehicles regularly – and Kadence’s survey reveals that 90 per cent do so at least two to three times a week, while more than two-thirds (68 per cent) charge it every day. They’re very encouraging figures, and the survey also showed that 25 per cent of Outlander plug-in hybrid owners are most likely to consider an all-electric vehicle next time they buy a car.
The survey also showed that a whopping 97 per cent of Outlander plug-in hybrids are charged at home, rather than at public charge points. This strongly indicates that owners are happy to charge their vehicles at home, allowing much-needed time for a nationwide charging network roll-out.
The future of motoring will undoubtedly move towards all-electric vehicles, but such a sea change and a huge shift in the way consumers think about driving will obviously take time to be fully adopted, which is why plug-in hybrids are the perfect gateway to introduce the public to fully electric motoring and shouldn’t be ignored. A spokesperson for Mitsubishi said: “With around 1 per cent of new car buyers in the UK opting for a pure electric vehicle, the government risks missing numerous environmental targets [if it ignores the benefits of hybrid vehicles], not least its goal of having half of all new cars classified as ultra-low emission vehicles by 2030.”
In light of these findings, Mitsubishi in the UK is calling on the Government to be more inclusive of gateway technologies to encourage buyers to make the first step away from pure petrol or diesel power by lowering running costs and rolling out more on-street and residential charging for people without driveways. A good place to start would be to reinstate the plug-in grant for new hybrid vehicle purchases and offer discounts on road tax.