DOE does not recognize mild hybrids in new xEV list

Owning a hybrid or an EV is increasingly becoming more attractive these days. Established and new manufacturers are promoting them left and right, along with government approved incentives through laws and executive orders. Not to mention, fuel prices have been skyrocketing again these past few weeks.

But before you pull the trigger and go hybrid on your next vehicle purchase, you might want to read this carefully.

No mild hybrids in DOE's EV, BEV, PHEV list image

The Department of Energy (DOE) has released a social media post showing its list of recognized xEVs as of August 1, 2023. The government agency has classified xEVs under four categories – PHEVs or plug-in hybrid vehicles, LEVs or light electric vehicles such as e-bikes, HEVs or hybrid electric vehicles, and BEVs or battery electric vehicles.

As we went through the models on the list, we saw more or less the cars we were expecting to be included. Some are yet to be added, such as GWM's Haval H6 and the Jolion HEV. But upon reaching out to GWM, they were able to show us that the aforementioned models will be part of the updated list for recognition.

However, what's worth noting is that DOE did not include any mild hybrid electric vehicles (MHEVs) on the list. That means vehicles with a belt starter generator (BSG) or similar "motorized alternator” system with lithium-ion battery packs running on 48 volts or less.

No mild hybrids in DOE's EV, BEV, PHEV list image

The primary reason is that these BSG MHEV systems are (generally speaking) assist systems not capable of propelling the vehicle on its own electric power without an internal combustion engine. Under the EVIDA IRR, to be classified as an EV/HEV/PHEV, an electric system must be able to move the vehicle forward.

And speaking of EVIDA law, the DOE memorandum circular means if a certain vehicle is not on the list, then it can't enjoy certain perks like priority parking (for EVs and PHEVs), reduced MVUC, or number-coding exemption. So yes, per the DOE document, MHEVs must comply with the MMDA's UVVRP (Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program).

For now, that seems to be the case, but we'll come up with an updated story for any changes on the list, or on the xEV qualification guidelines.