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Why you should always plug in your PHEV
It has been said that the vast majority of plug-in hybrids only exist to avoid tax. Vehicles like the BMW X5 xDrive40e and Volvo's XC90 T8 Twin-Engine are cheif amongst those with fingers being pointed at them. Each is classified with low-tax bands based on their CO2 output, despite them each offering high performance levels.

Some have even stated that once the cars leave their showrooms, they'll never see a plug again. Part of the reason for this is that many new PHEVs are not being released with any form of rapid charging, unlike Mitsubishi's hugely popular Outlander PHEV that has CHAdeMO as standard on the UK model.

So, why should owners plug them in? The main reason is cost and the second battery conditioning. If you solely run your PHEV as a hybrid, in other words, allowing the engine to take care of the battery, then you will be carrying around a lot of weight for no reason as the engine won't recharge the battery without using a lot of fuel to do so. Similarly, running it as a mild-hybrid will only use a small percentage of cells or just not charge any of them to their capacity and this might negatively affect the cells over time.

The solution?

Simply keep it plugged in. This will improve fuel consumption and provide your plug-in hybrid with better performance too. To bring in a little maths…

If fuel costs £1/litre and your car averages 35mpg once the battery has depleted (real world BMW X5 xDrive40e and Volvo XC90 T8) it would cost £4.55 to travel 35 miles using petrol. However, if you recharged your car's battery and drove 18 miles (real world Volvo XC90) electrically, that would cost you just 9kWh of energy, which equates to about £2.70 on a high cost electricity network (30pence/kW). Whatever way you look at it, it's far cheaper to run the car on electricity than petrol alone.

You should always avoid using the Charge and Save features too, as you will effectively be paying petrol prices for electricity.
Very good advice.

Vauxhall Ampera Positiv cyber grey driver since Oct 2012.
Well I have been finding lots of interesting EV's and PHEV's plugged in at my local shopping centre recently (Silverburn on the south of Glasgow).

I spotted my first Volvo XC90 T8 the other day as well as a Merc C Class PHEV, both plugged in to the 32A 7 kW posts (of which there are now 8) in the multi-storey car park.  Mine is the Ampera.

[Image: j9YVK28UZp6XSCRAqfbMmU547d0QJiX18dO7fbYm...21-h799-no]

And then when we there last night in my wife's LEAF there was a BMW 330e plugged in

Vauxhall Ampera (Mine) and Nissan LEAF (my wifes)
That's reassuring to hear that people are plugging in their cars, although at a shopping centre I wonder whether it is often not because they need charge, but rather want the parking space?

I'm running a Volvo XC90 T8 for a week and can assure you that if you don't plug it in, it's not the most frugal beast! And what a beast it is too, huge power (perhaps too much as it actually squirms under hard acceleration) if desired, but I wince every time I see the live-mpg read sub 10 numerals. Plugging it in improves matters dramatically, as it is a hugely capable EV… for 20 or so miles (ample for most shopping trips etc.)

As a test, I drove it most of yesterday with no charge to see the real world mpg and it averaged higher than expected, at just over 35mpg - impressive for an enormous and sumptuous 7-seat car with a supercharged and turboed 2-litre petrol unit. Having now charged it and with plenty of local journeys to make, I envisage the mpg figure to rise considerably. But, I must always plug-in.

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