Citroen awarding points for plugging in PHEVs

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Citroen is finding ways to encourage owners to plug-in their plug-in hybrid cars.

Citroën, which has begun launching plug-in hybrid models in Europe, will encourage drivers of its plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models to charge and use their vehicle’s battery more often, using regular in-car messages.

While it’s somewhat ironic that plug-in hybrid owners actually need to be nudged to plug them in, the potential efficiency gains of using a charged PHEV battery compared to lugging around a flat one with only the petrol (or diesel) engine is quite the margin.

The French brand has announced the move as part of a drive towards environmental sustainability.

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Citroën confirmed notifications will be displayed on central touchscreens in PHEV variants of the Citroën C5 X and Citroën C5 Aircross if they haven’t been charged after five days or 10 trips to “encourage people to take action”.

A spokesman for the brand in the UK, where the initiative will be rolled out, told Automotive Daily those who aren’t using PHEVs as their makers intended are effectively driving a standard combustion-powered car with the added load of a heavy, unused battery that is only decreasing fuel efficiency and, therefore, is less environmentally friendly.

However, a rewards system – similar in practice to a club or points card – will launch next year to give back to those who are charging on a regular basis, with points able to be claimed against public charging costs and even train tickets. Points can be earned by charging either at home or at a public station, Citroën confirmed.

Details of how these points will be accrued, or their worth, have yet to be announced, but it follows in a similar vein to a points programme launched by BMW last year.

The German car maker rewards PHEV drivers for covering as many electrically driven kays as possible within designated ‘eDrive Zones’.

BMW also offers 20 points every time a PHEV is charged for more than 15 minutes and 500 points for each user who charges their PHEV more than 20 times per month.

Will Rimell

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