2017 Toyota Prius Prime PremiumEnlarge Photo
Last week, for the first time, we reminded regular readers about our regular Twitter poll in an article announcing the question of the week.
This week, the question has to do with plug-in hybrids, and where they fit into the landscape of electric cars over time.
The question simply asks how important plug-in hybrids will be in 2025.
That's only seven model years away, which means that the world's large automakers are already drawing up plans for the vehicles they'll launch that year.
With prices for lithium-ion battery cells continuing to fall every year, larger and larger battery packs will become affordable at any given price point.
How important will plug-in hybrids be in 2025?— Green Car Reports (@GreenCarReports) August 28, 2017
So will there come a point at which battery-electric vehicles with ranges of 300 miles become so common that plug-in hybrids start to be irrelevant?
Will it be simpler for carmakers to explain the virtues of battery-electric cars—you plug them in, and they run—versus the challenge of getting the general public to understand how a plug-in hybrid works?
When does the added cost and complexity of an internal combustion engine and all its emission-control aftertreatment systems begin to outweigh the incremental cost of a larger battery pack?
2017 Chevrolet VoltEnlarge Photo
And if the goal is to cut carbon emissions, what kind of battery range is required in a plug-in hybrid to ensure it travels most of its miles on grid electricity in daily use?
Will we continue to see plug-in hybrids with effective battery ranges of 10 to 20 miles, or will they come to be viewed only as compliance cars rather than serious product offerings bought only for their incentives?
Our poll, unfortunately, can't explore all of these questions. Instead, it's a simple question—what happens?—with four options to choose among.
As always, we're well aware the results of these polls aren't scientific, due not only to low sample size but to self-selection among participants.
Still, they can serve as directional indicators for future trends—and the comments and debates they spawn are often more interesting than the raw results themselves.
So there you have it: all readers with a Twitter account are invited to vote in the poll. Results will be announced next week.