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It's too bad that PHEV's are not being given a chance because they have the potential to convert many millions of annual gasoline miles into electric during the transition to full EV which is going to take many years. While EV is certain making rapid progress, currently around 95% of new car buyers will not be purchasing an EV as their next car for many reasons. Although we are seeing dramatic shifts toward EV and that will likely continue, projections that I have seen of when most cars will be fully EV are that it is at least a decade away.

In the meantime most people who are currently shying away from buying an EV for whatever reason, valid or invalid, and will be purchasing a gasoline car as their next vehicle, would likely be able to convert more than half of their driving into electric if they purchase a PHEV instead of a regular gasoline car or hybrid. Even with a smaller battery that provides only 25 EV miles, for many people that is at least 125 miles per week that they would be driving electric. Compared to 0 electric miles if they purchase a regular gasoline car or hybrid which is what they will otherwise do. And for most owners there would be little to no inconvenience owning a PHEV, as they can plug into their regular wall outlet and get a full charge in around six hours. No need to install a 240V outlet. And of course follow their usual routine of using gas stations when making an occasional trip. The beauty of it is the simplicity of the message, plug in your car when convenient, when you can't or if it's not convenient, you can use gas. For a large percentage of the buying public that's a concept they would be willing to embrace if they are not willing to go full EV just yet.
Thanks for writing that (saved me the trouble).

Much like natural gas is to the energy sector, PHEVs could be the same for the personal transportation sector.

One of my favorite quotes, hammered into me when I was a Junior Engineer:

" 'Perfection' is the enemy of 'good enough' ."
 

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Spot on. The troubles with charging while on the road are not worth the 40 extra miles you might achieve. On some longer trips though, I do wish my Clarity had a larger gas tank.
I think in some ways that the Clarity is an example of why a larger battery in a PHEV is not necessarily ideal. While we all love our 50 mile EV range, the reality is that most people don't drive that many miles every day. If they had put in a 25 mile battery, a lot of people would still be able to drive EV most days. Even though everyone else would be going over by some number of miles, subtracting 25 miles from whatever their gas miles would have been each day would really add up to a lot of gas savings over time.

With a smaller battery Clarity could be somewhat cheaper, although the reduction in federal tax credit would offset some of the savings. But it would be lighter (thus better HV mileage) and also possibly have room for a larger gas tank, although part of that challenge may be that it inherited its frame from the fuel cell Clarity. And with a smaller battery they could have taken advantage of some of the cost and weight savings to put in a slightly more powerful gas engine, so that the Clarity would behave more like a regular hybrid and not throw a tantrum when going up hills in HV mode with 0 EV miles remaining.

Not that this would make Clarity a hot seller, since it's a sedan, and one with quirky styling. But I'm just using it as an example of the pro and con of battery size.
 

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I track my electric vs gas mileage. I have 21,000 miles on the car and only 4200 is from gas. The rest is from local trips under 40 miles. Honda and other manufacturers have considered what average daily driving looks like (commuting and such) and sized the EV range to cover most, if not all of it.
 

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I track my electric vs gas mileage. I have 21,000 miles on the car and only 4200 is from gas. The rest is from local trips under 40 miles. Honda and other manufacturers have considered what average daily driving looks like (commuting and such) and sized the EV range to cover most, if not all of it.
That may have been part of it, but at the time their only real competition was the Chevy Volt which had similar range. And they also sized the battery at the minimum kWh needed to get the full $7,500 federal tax credit.

If a different mindset ever begins to form, where the focus is mainly on the potential for 100-150 miles of EV driving per week (compared to 0 miles for gas cars or hybrids), then car makers can eventually make PHEV's that are less costly and also more like the type of car that most people want to purchase (i.e. not a mid-size sedan or an electrified Chevy Cruze).

But as long as most people continue to think that a PHEV is undesirable unless it can operate for them as an electric car for daily driving, only using gas on weekends, out of town trips etc., then PHEV's will continue to be a tiny niche in the car market, because reaching that goal for the majority of car buyers requires a battery size that makes the car undesirable for other reasons, including high cost, smaller gas tank, less powerful gas engine (at least in the case of Clarity), and compromises in cabin and storage space.
 

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I track my electric vs gas mileage. I have 21,000 miles on the car and only 4200 is from gas. The rest is from local trips under 40 miles. Honda and other manufacturers have considered what average daily driving looks like (commuting and such) and sized the EV range to cover most, if not all of it.
78% of Americans commute fewer than 40 miles per day. (https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1006/ML100621425.pdf)

Unfortunately, a large portion of that 78% won't take the time to do the numerical analysis as part of their car-buying decision-making.
 

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That may have been part of it, but at the time their only real competition was the Chevy Volt which had similar range. And they also sized the battery at the minimum kWh needed to get the full $7,500 federal tax credit.

If a different mindset ever begins to form, where the focus is mainly on the potential for 100-150 miles of EV driving per week (compared to 0 miles for gas cars or hybrids), then car makers can eventually make PHEV's that are less costly and also more like the type of car that most people want to purchase (i.e. not a mid-size sedan or an electrified Chevy Cruze).

But as long as most people continue to think that a PHEV is undesirable unless it can operate for them as an electric car for daily driving, only using gas on weekends, out of town trips etc., then PHEV's will continue to be a tiny niche in the car market, because reaching that goal for the majority of car buyers requires a battery size that makes the car undesirable for other reasons, including high cost, smaller gas tank, less powerful gas engine (at least in the case of Clarity), and compromises in cabin and storage space.
The Volt and Clarity battery sizes were based on CARB credit requirements, which require a larger battery than the Federal non-refundable tax credit.

As for the daily drive, I didn't even look at shorter range PHEVs when my Cruze ECO was totaled. My daily drive is 50 miles round trip.
 

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The Volt and Clarity battery sizes were based on CARB credit requirements, which require a larger battery than the Federal non-refundable tax credit.
I don't know about the Volt but the Clarity battery is only a very small amount over the federal requirement

As for the daily drive, I didn't even look at shorter range PHEVs when my Cruze ECO was totaled. My daily drive is 50 miles round trip.
That's because your requirement for a PHEV is that it allows you to drive mostly EV, you view the gas engine as a backup for occasional longer mile days. Nothing wrong with that as a personal requirement and I'm sure that is likely the view of most people on this forum. In fact some people say they wish the Clarity had a bigger battery. But as I said if most people continue to view PHEV's this way then PHEV's will remain a tiny niche market due to the higher cost of a full size battery and in most cases compromises of some type. The very high percentage of people who will not buy an EV as their next car will continue to buy a gas car and burn gas for 100% of their driving miles. Which is really too bad, PHEV's of any battery size can make a tremendous impact on total fossil fuel consumption compared to regular gas cars or even regular hybrids.

I will repeat my mantra, the message to the typical car buyer who knows nothing about any of this is simple and compelling, a PHEV allows you to plug in at home using your existing 120V outlets, no modifications are needed to your electrical system. You can drive up to 25 miles per day fully electric, the car will automatically switch to gasoline when the battery is empty. This gives you the potential of driving up to 175 miles per week fully electric, saving many gallons of gasoline each week. I think if more people understood that message, and car makers worked towards lowering the cost of PHEV's and making them as no-compromise as possible compared to a regular car, there would be a lot more PHEV's sold. But it's chicken and the egg, car makers aren't going to put this type of effort into PHEV's unless there is a demand, but there will be no demand as long as virtually no one in the general public even knows that PHEV's exist, much less understand the benefits.

EV proponents are in an ideal position to promote PHEV's as an alternative to gas only vehicles, but their mantra also seems to be a simple one which is that everyone should be driving an EV, the only allowable excuse for not owning one in their mind is if someone literally has no place to charge it. I understand where they are coming from, as they also face misconceptions about EV's in the general public. But the ideal situation is that all alternatives are explained and promoted - hybrid, PHEV and EV.
 
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