Five years after the “dieselgate”, a new scandal splashes the automotive industry, this time accused of having largely underestimated the CO2 emissions by its hybrid vehicles. According to a study by the NGO Transport & Environment made public this Monday, November 23 and taken up by “Le Monde”, the level of carbon released into the atmosphere in real conditions is at least 28% higher than announced by builders. It is even, for some vehicles, up to twelve times higher.
Transport & Environment had measurements carried out by the British company Emissions Analytics. For these hybrid vehicles powered by both a heat engine and an electric motor – particularly heavy machines – the results depend on the traffic conditions and the state of charge of the battery. “Under optimal conditions and with a fully charged battery, the vehicles emitted between 28% and 89% more CO2 than what had been announced”, according to the report.
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It is even worse when the battery is empty or the car is moving at high speed. So while Europe’s best-selling hybrid vehicle, the Mitsubishi Outlander, is said to emit 46 grams of CO2 per kilometer, that figure jumps to 164 when in battery charge mode. The BMW X5, supposed to emit 32 grams of CO2 per kilometer according to its homologation, produces 254. The Volvo XC60, supposed to emit 71 grams, emits 242.
“The plug-in hybrid vehicle is a chimera”, concludes Transport & Environment. “The French government must remove the tax aids and incentives that favor these models. “The 10 green commandments to reduce your impact on the climate
For their part, manufacturers stress that hybrid vehicles are driven most of the time near home, and can therefore remain in electric mode if they are regularly charged.