As gas prices continue to rise, many are looking for more fuel-efficient vehicles like hybrid cars. While hybrid cars do have a few drawbacks, the many benefits of hybrid cars make it worth your while to take the plunge. Continue reading and see the hybrid cars pros and cons and why a hybrid car is the best choice.
What Is a Hybrid Car?
Before diving into hybrid cars pros and cons, what exactly is a hybrid car?
A hybrid car is a vehicle that uses both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and rechargeable batteries to power itself. EVs use a lithium-ion battery pack to store energy created by an ICE. These cars “charge” themselves by drawing on the power stored in the batteries, allowing the vehicle to operate without connecting to an external source of electricity. There are many different hybrid cars, varying in their performance, cost, and the resources used to build them.
How Hybrid-Electric Vehicles Work?
So, how do hybrid cars work? First, you should know that there are two types of hybrid-electric vehicles: plug-in hybrids and all-electric. Plug-in Hybrids use a gas engine to run the car on electricity for about 10 miles, then switch over to gasoline only until it runs out or one plugs in again.
All Electric Vehicles don’t need any fuel because they’re powered by their batteries, which can be charged through an outlet or using regenerative braking while driving (the way Tesla works). Others still have both options but start as electric cars before switching back and forth between battery power and gas when needed.
What Are the Pros of Hybrid Cars?
Let’s start our list of hybrid cars pros and cons with the advantages, and there are plenty of them! Here are the benefits of getting a hybrid car:
Hybrid cars are generally more environmentally-friendly than their non-hybrid counterparts. The hybrid system is a smart way to reduce emissions without sacrificing performance or fuel economy. The system operates as follows: With the help of the engine, the car can drive both on the engine’s fuel and the electric motor’s fuel. When the vehicle does not need to travel any significant distance, the engine shuts off, and the car drives on the batteries. When the batteries become too weak to power the vehicle, the engine automatically starts, and the two power sources work in tandem to get the car moving again.
2. Tax Credits/Incentives
Many states and cities have tax incentives or even cash incentives to encourage the purchase of hybrid cars. These may include:
- Federal Tax Credit: The Federal government offers up to $7,500 tax credit for purchasing hybrid vehicles. The only requirements to qualify are that the car must be used primarily for commuting and that it must be “light-duty” (used mostly for getting around town)
- State Incentives: Many states offer tax incentives to encourage the purchase of hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles.
3. Save Money on Gas
One of the best things about hybrid cars is that you will likely save money on gas. The main reason is that hybrid cars use less gas when operating in ‘EV’ (electric motor) mode. When the vehicle doesn’t need the extra power from the engine, it switches to using the batteries. This means you will likely get better gas mileage than expected.
4. Additional Warranties
Hybrid cars are more likely to qualify for additional warranties. If something goes wrong with your car, the manufacturer will cover more costs. For example, if your car is out of warranty but still under the original manufacturer’s service plan, the hybrid option could make you eligible for free repairs.
5. Quiet to Drive
Compared to traditional cars with internal combustion engines, hybrid cars tend to be much quieter when driving. Many hybrid models are only just as noisy as an electric car. Hybrid vehicles utilize a regular motor to power the driven wheels. On the other hand, internal-combustion engines produce noise that is often amplified by a gearbox and internal combustion. As a result, the only thing you will hear from the outside is the whirring of the tires when you’re coming to a stop.
6. Regenerative Braking
Hybrid cars use regenerative braking, which captures kinetic energy that would otherwise go wasted during brake applications. The electric motor or battery then uses this captured energy to recharge it- saving you money rather than using up more gasoline! In this sense, hybrid vehicles are much better for maintaining efficiency over time compared with traditional models as well as helping reduce carbon emissions from fuel combustion because of their ability to capture some of their kinetic power without needing an engine restart after stopping at traffic lights or when coming off highways onto city streets.
7. No Range Anxiety
One downside of many hybrid cars is that they don’t have a large range. This means that you could run out of juice before making it to a charging station. Luckily, there are many options with a rated range of over 200 miles. Even if you run out of gas on the roadside, there’s still a good chance of making it back to the car.
8. Less Dependence on Fossil Fuels
Since hybrid cars use fossil fuels and alternative energy sources, they are less dependent on fossil fuels than non-hybrid cars. Hybrid vehicles only use between 2 and 10 gallons of gas per year. This is compared to the 20-50 gallons that many non-hybrid cars use.
What Are the Cons of Hybrid Cars?
Just like any other car type, there are hybrid cars pros and cons. After looking at the pros, it’s only fair that we also check on the downside of this car type.
1. High Upfront Costs
You’ll likely face a high price tag if you’re thinking about buying a hybrid. The hybrid will cost more than a conventional car. The extra cost doesn’t make sense, but if you’re financing the vehicle, the price difference won’t matter. The motor, power electronics, batteries, and other components of a hybrid car are all built to very high standards. This means that, compared to a conventional car, a hybrid vehicle will cost more to produce.
2. More Components to Repair
A hybrid car has more moving parts than a conventional car, leading to a higher incidence of repairs. For example, a hybrid car is likely to need new spark plugs, coils, rotors, and other parts because these parts are housed inside the engine. Additionally, hybrid vehicles have electronic components which can fail. These components include the computer, which controls the car’s drivetrain, and the electric motor, controller, and battery.
3. Expensive Insurance
The price of a hybrid car’s insurance will likely be higher than the price of a conventional car. Compared to a conventional car, a hybrid car is considered a higher-risk vehicle. The increased risk comes from a hybrid car employing both a gas and an electric motor. If something goes wrong, you could have a car that is either completely electric or completely reliant on gas. You’ll likely need to pay a higher premium for your insurance to cover this higher risk.
4. Emissions Are Still There
You’ve seen read in this article how hybrid cars produce less pollution and have reduced greenhouse gas emissions, but these emissions are still there. That’s not to imply that hybrid cars are bad for the environment. Rather, the emissions are still part of what the government regulates, and hybrid cars are designed to comply with these regulations.
5. Repair Costs Are Expensive
Another unfortunate downside of hybrid cars is their repair costs. Although they don’t use traditional oil like conventional cars, hybrid cars still require added maintenance. One thing that makes hybrid cars more expensive to maintain is their electrical components. Additionally, hybrid cars are more likely to break down on the road, necessitated by wear and tear on the car’s drivetrain.
6. Limited Availability
As discussed, one of the cons of hybrid cars is limited availability. This means that you might not be able to find a hybrid car that meets your needs, particularly if you are looking for a larger or more luxurious vehicle. Hybrid cars are still in their relative infancy and only recently have become a more popular choice on the road. Many car dealers don’t yet have hybrid models in their inventory. As a result, if you’re looking for a particular make or model, you could have trouble finding it.
7. Poor Fuel Economy on Highways
As discussed, hybrid cars are usually less efficient than conventional cars in fuel economy. While this results from the hybrid car design, it can still be disappointing. Some drivers might be willing to sacrifice efficiency for reduced emissions and ranges, but this comes at a cost. The high fuel economy is likely because it doesn’t have to drive as hard to produce the same power. A hybrid’s fuel economy will be less than a car with a more powerful engine. You should expect to get approximately 15-16 mpg from a hybrid car if you’re primarily driving on the highway. However, if you’re mostly driving in the city, you’ll get around 12-13 mpg.
8. Not All Hybrids Are Made the Same
There are different types of hybrid cars; mild hybrids, full hybrids, and plug-in hybrids, and all of these use a combination of gasoline engines and electric motors. These three differ in how much the car uses electricity to power itself.
- Mild hybrids rely on their engine for starts and running at low speeds or when extra power is required, such as going up hills.
- Full Hybrids don’t need gas until you’re below 25 mph while plugged into an outlet.
- Plug-In Hybrids (PHEVs) can go short distances with only battery life before recharging.
Hybrid Cars FAQs
How Long Do Hybrid Car Batteries Last?
Typically, the mAh capacity of a car battery lasts for about 500 charges or about ten years. This varies depending on the battery size, how you drive, weather conditions, and theft protection. The best way to find out how long your particular hybrid battery will last is to add some miles to the odometer.
Are Hybrid Cars Reliable?
Typically, hybrid cars are very reliable. However, this will depend on your car and how you drive it. That said, most hybrid cars today are very reliable. Many of them have excellent ratings in Consumer Reports. A reliable hybrid car can save you money on gas. If you drive more than 30,000 miles per year, switching to a hybrid could save you as much as $8,000 over the car’s life.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace Hybrid Battery?
It all depends on the severity of your battery’s damage. If it is something minor, such as a small crack in the casing or some corrosion around connectors, then an $80-$150 repair might be enough to get you back up and running. But if there are more significant damages – such as wires that need replacing or even a whole new case altogether -then expect time and money invested into this process will increase significantly depending on how extensive these repairs may have been needed.
So, Should You Get a Hybrid Car?
Hybrids are a great idea for all drivers, whether you’re in the market for your first car or have been driving before the invention of these green cars. Hybrids give gas mileage estimates upwards of 50 mpg and often boast other perks such as low emissions and more storage space than normal cars. When you consider hybrid cars pros and cons, it’s only plausible that you go for one, and you won’t regret it.