Call to ban hybrid cars from public charging points

Call to ban hybrid cars from public charging points
Call to ban hybrid cars from public charging points

Plug-in hybrid cars should be banned from motorway charging stations because they take too long to charge, according to a new report.

A study into the nation’s public charging network says that plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are potentially blocking battery-only EVs (BEVs) from charging and are wasting the infrastructure.

PHEVs can run on their regular engine once the battery has run out but BEVs need to use charging points to keep their batteries full.

The RAC Foundation report argues that the current generation of hybrids are therefore causing problems for BEV owners by blocking charge points.

The report says that the quickest BEVs can add 15 miles of range in just five minutes while most hybrids take around an hour to add the same amount of charge.

That is because of differences between their charging technology. Almost all current hybrids use a slow 3.6kW AC on-board charger compared with up to 135kW DC chargers in the latest luxury battery-only vehicles. A mainstream BEV such as the Nissan Leaf can use up to 50kW DC chargers.

Read more: Real-world running costs of EVs revealed

As a result, the report’s author has called for motorway charging points to be reserved for BEVs until PHEVs’ charging technology improves.

Harold Dermott said: “In the two hours that it takes the PHEV to gain about 7 kWh of energy and 25 miles of range, the same chargepoint could have delivered a 30-minute charge to four BEVs, each potentially gaining about 22 kWh of energy and 80 miles of range.

“This blocking of rapid chargepoints by PHEVs must be ended. If it becomes widespread, the CPN journey network of rapid chargepoints will collapse.”

PHEV ban
While some cars can accept charging at up to 135kW, most BEVs are limited to 50kW charging. Picture: Shutterstock

Journey chargers are where the main purpose of visiting them is to charge a vehicle, rather than “grazing” chargers where the charging is secondary to other activities such as shopping or visiting a leisure centre.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Ever-faster and more powerful chargepoints might sound like the answer to creating the electric car recharging network we need, but if the cars themselves can only be recharged at a certain rate then at best we’re going to be disappointed and at worst we’re going to waste money. Compatibility between car and charger is key.”

The report revealed that there are more than twice as many PHEVs in the UK as BEVs. At the end of July 2018, there were 111,890 PHEVs and 53,727 BEVs and sales data shows PHEVs outselling BEVs by a ratio of three to one.

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