Automotive Climate Change Question 14

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“Does the brand sell a hybrid, electric or fuel cell car on the European market?”

Dutch version: “Verkoopt het merk een hybride, elektrische of brandstofcel auto op de Europese markt?”

German version: Verkauft das Unternehmen auf dem europäischen Markt Hybrid- oder Elektromodelle?


Hybrid cars have greatly popularized ever since the Toyota Prius was first introduced to the automotive market in 1997. Hybrid cars are different from conventional Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) motors in that an electrical motor is added to the system. This has many different advantages with regards to CO2 emission reduction and air pollution [1]:

• A hybrid car can store otherwise lost energy through regenerative braking. In a conventional ICE motor much energy gets lost as (redundant) heat. A hybrid cars however converts this into battery-replenishing electric energy, thereby improving energy use efficiency;
• A hybrid car is particularly useful in short distances and at low speeds, i.e. in city-driving. Through the so-called ‘start and stop’ system a hybrid car will shut down the ICE when the motor is idle (in short distances and at low speeds). An ICE motor emits a disproportional amount of CO2 in such situations; an electrical motor is much more efficient.
• Hybrid cars, like electric cars, reduce vehicular emissions (i.e. tailpipe exhaust gases) significantly.

Hybrid car propulsion is only possible through fuel use. An intermediate between hybrid cars and electric cars is the plug-in hybrid cars that can establish propulsion powered by the electricity grid by being plugged in before usage. In a later stage the questionnaire may include a question on plug-in hybrid cars.

For references and backgrounds of electric cars and fuel cell cars, see next question.

Note that also extended-range vehicles like Opel Ampera are eligible to this question -if available to consumers. Extended-range means that a gasoline motor powers the battery that powers the electrical motor of the car.

Please note that for this question we look specifically at the brand's level, so information on the conglomerate's website is only accountable when the conglomerate specifically refers to the brand.

Ranking guidelines

Rank Yes:

- When the automotive brand currently sells a hybrid and/or electric passenger car, and is available in Europe (check for NL, UK, and DE). Note that brands may use the term Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV), also hybrid and eligible for this question. Be sure that hybrid means that the car has an fuel and electric engine. For example, the Smart Micro Hybrid Drive is not a true hybrid car in that sense, it has no electric engine.

Rank ?:

- When information on this cannot be found.

Rank No:

- When brands explicitly state to refrain from hybrid cars (very rare). Note that with all the hybrid car developments in the last decade, all automotive brands should have had enough time to include a hybrid car in their fleet. A 'no' is also awarded to brands that state that hybrid cars are in the planning, but have not released it yet throughout Europe.