The appeal of PHEVs or EREVs is clearly hard for Chinese EV companies to ignore, and the strong deliveries of the further underscore this.

(Image credit: CnEVPost)

While adding an internal combustion engine to an electric vehicle (EV) model is seen as a step backward, the approach could lead to higher sales and thus make it attractive.

A new patent granted to Avatr Technology, an EV brand backed by , and Changan Automobile, hints that it could potentially add models with internal combustion engines to its product array.

Avatr was granted a patent related to refueling ports on May 5, meaning that the battery electric vehicle (BEV) maker could potentially introduce models that can refuel in the future.

Avatr was originally founded as Changan by Changan and NIO on July 10, 2018.

However, its product launches have not progressed well over the past several years, and with the introduction of new financing, NIO has essentially exited from the joint venture.

After several years of bumpy development, Avatr finally launched its first model, Avatr 11, on August 9, 2022, and its deliveries began at the end of December last year.

In addition to the Avatr 11, Avatr also has a limited-edition model, the Avatr 011, for which deliveries began in February of this year.

In May, Avatr sold 1,200 units, according to local consulting firm Land Roads.

Most of China's earliest EV startups targeted the BEV market in the beginning, but experience over the past few years has shown that plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), which enjoy the same support policies as BEVs at the national level, are more popular.

In addition, Li Auto's (NASDAQ: LI) tremendous success in the extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) market is more evidence that PHEVs are more accepted.

Li Auto delivered a record 28,277 vehicles in May, the third consecutive month to surpass the 20,000-unit mark. It is aiming to deliver more than 30,000 units this month.

In an effort to reverse the sales slump, Leapmotor announced plans last year to release EREV models, all of its previous models were BEVs.

On February 1, Leapmotor unveiled its dual-power strategy and its first EREV model, an EREV variant of its flagship SUV, the C11. On March 1, the C11 EREV went on sale.

In May, Leapmotor delivered 12,058 vehicles, up 38.18 percent from 8,726 units in April and 10 times the 1,139 units in January.

Leapmotor delivers 12,058 units in May, higher-priced C-series dominate-CnEVPost

The appeal of PHEVs or EREVs is clearly hard to ignore for Chinese EV makers.

He Xiaopeng, chairman and CEO of , said in a speech on June 15 that he could foresee a large number of hybrid models appearing in China in the next two years, especially inside family cars.

"Because everyone sees the success, they will follow. Because they are following, a large number of models will focus on the same place. It's a very interesting thing," he said.

He stressed, however, that car companies should have a long-term view. "I think in the automotive space, for everything, you have to think about the layout for ten to twenty years, it's not possible to achieve a big change in three years' time," he said.

Leapmotor starts bringing back combustion engines for its offerings to reverse plummeting sales