As gas prices continue to rise, many are looking for more fuel-efficient vehicles like hybrid cars. While they do have a few drawbacks, there also advantages to consider. Continue reading and see the hybrid cars’ pros and cons and it is the best choice.
Table of Contents
What Is a Hybrid Car?
Before diving into hybrid cars’ pros and cons, what exactly is it?
A hybrid car 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 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 if the battery runs out.
All Electric Vehicles, on the other hand, don’t need any fuel because their batteries 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. To qualify, the car must be used primarily for commuting and “light-duty” use (used mostly for getting around town). Keep in mind that the tax credit can depend on the car’s battery capacity.
- State Incentives: Many states offer tax incentives like reduced vehicle registration feeto 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.
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 at slower speeds, they don’t need the gas engine run. Instead, they rely purely on electric power, which is near silent since there is no combustion.
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.
7. No Range Anxiety
Since you have a backup combustion engine in a hybrid, there’s no need to worry if you run out of battery. When the battery runs out, or you’ve forgotten to charge it, you can just fill up the fuel tank, put the car in gas mode, and drive to your destination.
8. Less Dependence on Fossil Fuels
Hybrid cars are less dependent on fossil fuels than their gas-only counterpart. Many hyrbids boast mileage per gallon (mpg) in the 50s and 60s compared to gas cars which typically only get 20-30.
What Are the Cons of Hybrid Cars?
Just like any other car type, you’ll also find some faults with hybrids. Here are some of them:
1. High Upfront Costs
You’ll likely face a high price tag if you’re thinking about buying a hybrid. The tech alongside a hybrid car’s motor, electronics, batteries, and production cost is more expensive than a gasoline-powered vehicle.
2. More Components to Repair
A hybrid car has more moving parts than a conventional car, leading to a higher incidence of repairs. 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
Compared to a conventional car, a hybrid car is considered a higher-risk vehicle. The increased risk comes from the costs of repair, the car’s price tag, and battery replacement.
4. Emissions Are Still There
Some car manufacturers claim that hybrids do not produce any emissions, but this is not particularly true. Hybrids still produce harmful emissions, but not as high as their petrol-only counterparts. They only produce zero emissions if you put them in EV mode.
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.
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.
9. 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’ electric motor assists the engine during acceleration/deceleration. However, their engine size and battery capacity are significantly smaller than full hybrids. Plus, their batteries, which are recharged by regenerative braking, cannot be plugged in.
- Full Hybrids (HEV) are somewhat similar to mild hybrids. However, they have a larger engine and battery. Plus, the battery can be recharged by both regenerative braking and the engine itself.
- Plug-In Hybrids (PHEVs) rely on electricity alone. You have to “plug in” a charger to replenish its low or depleted battery.
Hybrid Cars FAQs
How Long Do Hybrid Car Batteries Last?
Typically, hybrid car batteries can last 100,000 to 200,000 miles or more. However, this varies depending on the model, battery size, and your driving style.
Are Hybrid Cars Reliable?
Typically, hybrid cars are very reliable. However, this will depend on your car and how you drive it. 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, like the battery not charging, then expect to pay a premium for a new battery plus labor.
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.