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LINDSAY BROOKE IS Editor-in-Chief of Automotive Engineering, the monthly magazine of SAE International. It was 1979 when I jumped ship to R&T from the Society of Automotive Engineers (its interim name; originally it was “Automobile” not “Automotive”). I recall later that we tried to pirate Lindsay from SAE, but he stayed on. Clearly, to good effect.
Automotive Engineering continues with its insider authority, with Lindsay’s May 2022 editorial exemplary of this. Here are tidbits gleaned from his “Reconsidering Hybrids.”
Expert Discussions. Lindsay’s sources are panel discussions, among them at the 2022 SAE WCX World Congress. Based on these, Lindsay derives two conclusions: Don’t oversell the end of ICE (the internal combustion engine). And, when assessing EV futures, don’t forget hybrids.
Complex Times. Mobility-industry planning, Lindsay says, “currently faces more uncertainty than at any period in recent memory. It’s not a good time to bet on EV sales forecasts and ICE-end dates that seemed unrealistic even before Covid, the chip crisis, and Putin’s war of obliteration. Unforeseen externalities have a way of altering outlooks.”
Hybrid Fit. Much of the industry agrees, Lindsay says, that “hybrid-electric propulsion will play a significant role in global vehicle electrification and CO2 reduction in the next decade.”
Toyota. Lindsay writes, “One-quarter of Toyota’s vehicle sales in 2021 were electrified vehicles, most of them hybrids. The company that created the modern hybrid and made them aspirational, profitable, and reliable is assembling a pragmatic portfolio—hybrid- and plug-in hybrid vehicles, BEVs, and fuel-cell EVs. ‘We don’t believe a one-size-fits-all approach will work,’ Dante Boutell, VP of powertrain design for Toyota North America, told the SAE audience.”
A Danger of Overcommitting EVs? Lindsay says, “Honda is expanding standard-hybrid offerings across its lineup as it continues fuel-cell and EV collaborations with GM. Citing these uncertain times, the CEO of BMW and CTO of Mercedes each recently warned that overcommitting on EVs could leave them vulnerable in vehicle sales and in the procurement and cost of strategic raw materials.”
Lindsay cites BMW boss Oliver Zipse at a media gathering during the New York auto show: “When you look at the technology coming out, we must be careful because at the same time you increase dependency on very few countries.”
And China? Lindsay cites analyses by engineering consultants FEV: that “China’s best-selling ‘new energy vehicle’ is a series-hybrid SUV with a 40-kWh battery.” This is seen as something of a revival after the country’s BEV binge in the ‘new energy’ category.
A Two-platform Strategy. “Admittedly,” Lindsay says, “having both hybrids and BEVs with a single vehicle segment may require OEMs to adopt a two-platform strategy to optimize each powertrain’s benefits. That approach is counter to what EV advocates say is a key advantage of battery-electrics: reduced build complexity and bill-of-material.”
However, Lindsay cites FEV: “OEMs will need ‘a significant share’ of hybrid electric vehicles, in addition to BEVs, to comply with 2030 EU CO2 laws.”
Range, a Significant Hybrid Spiff. “Range between fill-ups (or charges) is a major selling point for hybrids,” Lindsay notes. “They are vastly superior to even the priciest EVs in this metric. Ford’s new $21,000 Maverick hybrid can deliver over 500 miles of driving range, beating Cadillac’s $59,000 Lyriq EV and Tesla’s $40,000 Model Y each by about 200 miles.”
More Than a Bridge to BEV. Lindsay writes, “Hybrids ultimately may only be a ‘bridge’ to an all-EV future, but OEMs who have fully committed to EVs in the short term may end up regretting their decisions. While traditional ICEs are heading for a sundown, hybridized combustion engines will power perhaps one third of new vehicles for at least the next decade, and millions beyond it.”
Lindsay quotes Dave Filipe, VP of hardware modules at Ford: “Let’s just say that by , it’s a 50/50 mix of ICE and BEV. But that 50-percent ICE is going to be heavily influenced by the hybrid.” ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2022