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German automakers stop selling plug-in hybrids after losing incentives

German automakers from BMW to Porsche are pulling their plug-in hybrids from sale in Europe after the change from the NEDC standard to the WLTP standard is resulting in them losing incentives.

By changing the standard in Europe, buyers get to see more accurate electric range out of automakers, but the new test cycle is also reducing the official efficiency rating of the vehicles.

They need CO2 emissions below 50 grams per kilometer in order to get the incentives.

Several plug-in hybrids don’t comply and therefore, the automaker decided to simply pull them from the market.

Auto News Europe gathered comments from a few automakers about several vehicles that won’t be available temporarily or indefinitely:

  • VW has stopped sales of the midsize Passat GTE, Europe’s No. 2-selling plug-in hybrid. A VW spokesman said the model will not be sold again until next July, when an update for the Passat range is due.
  • VW also has stopped selling the compact Golf GTE, Europe’s No. 4-selling plug-in hybrid. The company did not give a date for its return.
  • Porsche has pulled sales of its plug-in hybrid Panamera sedan and Cayenne SUV. “We will not start taking orders again until the cars are being built, the timing of which has not yet been confirmed,” a spokesman said.
  • Mercedes currently has no plug-in hybrids available to order but will start selling them again within the next two months, starting with the S-class and E-class models. The C class is not due until next year, a spokesman said. All will record under 50g/km of CO2, he said.
  • BMW is working to switch its plug-in hybrids over to WLTP. The company says the 530e sedan is available to order with emissions below 50g/km. The BMW 225xe Active Tourer minivan also can be ordered but with a CO2 figure of 57g/km, which is above the critical threshold.

A few other vehicles, like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and the Volvo XC60 PHEV, still have access to the subsidy and they are staying available on the market.

Electrek’s Take

Well, that’s disappointing. It shows that they were only selling those to get access to the subsidies.

We don’t cover most plug-in hybrids because they simply have too little all-electric range to make them viable electric vehicles.

That said, it looks like there’s a silver-linning here because many automakers are now looking to increase the size of the battery packs in their PHEVs to get back on the right side of emissions testing under the WLTP standard.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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