Does hybrid engine technology still have a future?

Charging your car with electricity is becoming more and more common. ©

Internal combustion engines have been on the radar of the European authorities for several years. Last July, the European Commission launched the “Fit for 55” plan. The aim is to ban the number of combustion engine vehicles. The aim is to reduce greenhouse gases by 55% by 2030. And 100% in 2035! So no more fossil fuels! A policy that has pushed manufacturers to get their research and development departments working hard. The aim is to offer a range of hybrid and electric vehicles. A race for electrification that is contributing to the current profusion of models with different types of engines.

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Hybridization finds its audience in France

This is particularly true for hybrid vehicles, which must play a transitional role in this rise in electrification. It should be noted that in France, hybridization is a technology that tends to find its audience. The number of plug-in hybrids rose sharply in the first half of 2021. A total of 68,651 cars with plug-in hybrid engines were sold. 19,974 vehicles were sold in the first half of 2020 (+243.7%).

Toyota, forerunner in hybrid engines

Those figures represent an increase in market share from 2.8% to 7.4%. Over the same period, the non-rechargeable hybrid saw good growth. In terms of registrations (including micro-hybrids), 124,736 vehicles were sold, compared to 47,325 in 2020, over the same period. This represents a 13.5% market share. It should be noted that Toyota is one of the forerunners of hybrid motorisations, it is the brand that has promoted this technology a lot.

A logo well known to hybrid vehicle owners. ©


It is true that 100% electric cars are being sold, but not to the same extent as hybrids. 150,099 hybrids were sold in the first nine months of 2020. This represents 12.9% of sales, while in 2021, over the same period, 317,222 units were sold (a volume of 25.2%). In contrast, 70,358 100% electric cars were sold, compared to 106,931 ( a volume of 8.5%*). Since the beginning of the summer, sales of electric cars have slowed down considerably.

The issue of charging is at the centre of the questioning.©

The cause? It could be multiple. First of all, there is the backlash of the reduction of the ecological bonus, on July 1st, from €7000 to €6000 for new electric vehicles (for vehicles under €45,000), and from €3000 to €2000 (for cars between €45,000 and €60,000). The other reason is also the shortage of semiconductors that is currently affecting the automotive industry. These are essential components for the vehicles manufacture, and even more for the 100% electric versions.

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Where are the charging stations?

Consideration must be given to the coverage of the territory for charging stations for electric vehicles. Where to recharge? “In the city, in the countryside, on the motorway, where are the charging stations?” These are the questions most frequently asked by drivers.

The multiplicity of charing stations: an essential response to the development of 100% electric. ©

Today, the deployment of charging stations allows 43,700 to be counted, compared to 32,700 in December 2020. That is 11,000 more in six months. We are far from the 100,000 charging sites at the end of this year, as the government had stated. At the beginning of this autumn, there are just over 4,000 high and very high power charging points. In its entirety, 2,700 charge points have a power rating of over 50 kW. 1,100 have a capacity of over 150 kW. Interesting for a recharge in less than 20 minutes.

100% of highway areas equipped by the end of 2022

Since January this year, the number of 150 kW charging points has been doubled. highways, 50 % of service areas are equipped with fast charging stations, i.e. 164 service areas. All service areas on the concessionary highway network will be equipped with charging stations for electric vehicles by the end of 2022. At the same time, the equipment of the national road network not under concession will be completed by the same deadline thanks to the mobilisation of State services and exceptional funding of 100 million euros(**).

An analysis of the hybrid (plug-in or not) which shows that this technology tends to seduce more and more in Europe. On the one hand by lowering the ” fuel ” bill. But also because it is establishing itself as a technology that reassures drivers in their daily mobility. Facts that support hybrid enthusiasts. It is a matter of making progress in a measured way, the decarbonisation of our travel modes.

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Pierre-Jean Côme

(*) (Source: PFA/AAA DATA )


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