Plug-In Hybrids Polluting Much More Than Advertised


Plug-in hybrid vehicles or PHEVs are slowly gaining popularity among car owners looking for a safer and cleaner alternative to petrol and diesel-powered vehicles. PHEVs are battery-powered but also have internal combustion engines that take over when the battery is used up. Recharging the battery means plugging it into a charging station.

As such, there are four primary components of a plug-in hybrid vehicle: its electric motor, battery, its internal combustion engine, and its gasoline tank. Unlike electric vehicles, a plug-in hybrid uses both electricity and gasoline.

Compared to petrol and diesel vehicles, plug-in hybrids use lesser gasoline – at least 30% to 60% less.

The only downside to using plug-in hybrid vehicles is the fact that it releases tailpipe emissions as soon as it shifts to gasoline as a fuel source. This is why some plug-in hybrids recently got into trouble with authorities.

According to on-road tests conducted by Austria’s Graz University of Technology, PHEVs from Peugeot, Renault, and German carmaker BMW all released more toxic emissions than they advertised or claimed. Among all the PHEVs tested, emissions coming from the BMW 3 Series were approximately three times higher than the advertised levels. Carbon dioxide (CO2) released was at 112g per kilometre. The BMW 3 Series’ official rating is 36g per kilometre.

While Peugeot’s official rating for its 308 PHEV is 27g per kilometre, the researchers’ recorded emissions were at least 20% higher. Megane, Renault’s plug-in hybrid, had its emission levels at 70% over its official rating of 30g per kilometre.

Additionally, other groups and campaign organisations have also completed tests that proved how plug-in hybrid vehicles use up more fuel than what manufacturers originally advertised. Aside from additional costs, this also means more carbon emissions.

Researchers also discovered that BMW and Peugeot did not stick to their zero-emissions range – only three-quarters for BMW and a little over one-half for Peugeot.

To encourage car owners to switch to fully electric vehicles (EVs), T&E urged the government to provide incentives to these drivers.

The Graz University of Technology research was commissioned by the campaign group T&E or Transport & Environment.

Reducing carbon emissions is one of the best ways to slow down the effects of exposure to toxic air.

Why emissions should be reduced

Emissions from road transport, particularly diesel vehicles, are known as NOx or nitrogen oxide. They are dangerous for both the environment and human health.

Nitrogen oxide has nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and NO or nitric oxide. It produces acid rain and smog and is also responsible for the formation of ground-level ozone, a pollutant that can damage and destroy vegetation.

Exposure to NOx emissions also has negative impacts on your mental health – you can suffer fits of depression and/or anxiety.

Additionally, your cognitive abilities may be affected and this can lead to dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s disease.

The health impacts of NOx emissions can be serious and life-threatening. Asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, pulmonary oedema, and breathing difficulties are the common ones. If exposure is constant and at high enough levels, the effects can be more dangerous. This includes:

  • Chronic lung function reduction
  • Vocal cords spasm (laryngospasm)
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Asphyxiation
  • Premature/early death

Every year, thousands of people across the world die because of air pollution and exposure to NOx emissions. The only way to stop the numbers from rising is to drastically reduce emissions everywhere.

While governments and authorities have already set up several programs and projects in the UK (such as the Ultra-Low Emission Zones or ULEZ and the CAZs or Clean Air Zones), a lot still needs to be done, especially when it comes to carmakers violating emissions regulations, such as what happened during the 2015 Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal.

What happened in September 2015?

September 2015 was when US authorities summoned the Volkswagen Group through a notice of violation for allegedly fitting hundreds of thousands of Audi and Volkswagen diesel vehicles in America with defeat devices. The devices manipulate emissions during testing so vehicles can pass regulatory tests.

Defeat devices can sense when a vehicle is already being tested and when they do, the devices immediately suppress emissions for the entirety of the test so their levels would stay within the legal limits that the World Health Organization (WHO) mandated. To regulators, the vehicle looks clean and safe, but this is only true during testing conditions.

As soon as the vehicle is taken out of the lab and driven on real-life roads, it releases mountainous volumes of nitrogen oxides. So the vehicle is a heavy pollutant and should not be allowed on UK roads – or any road for that matter. VW lied to their customers.

Several years later, other manufacturers started getting the attention of authorities, including BMW, Renault, and Mercedes-Benz.

As a result of the deceit and the dangers drivers have been subjected to, authorities believe carmakers have the legal right to file a diesel claim and receive compensation. Carmakers should be held responsible for their illegal actions.

How do I begin my diesel claim?

To start your diesel claim, you must verify first if you are eligible to file a claim. This is easy; head over to; the site has all the information you need. Check them out now so you can start working on your emission claim with the help of emission experts.