Is a Hybrid Car Right For You?
There is no escape from this if your still clinging on your gas car and thinking they will never be phased out. Whether its something you want to believe or not electrification of our vehicles is here to stay and from the look of things the hybrid cars are on the frontline leading this charge.
A hybrid car is considered basically a bridge between cars with conventional internal combustion engines and what we are calling today pure electric vehicles (EV). Hybrids is a combination of the two.
However we have a few differences we can highlight in the hybrid range, and to help you understand this we have the pros and cons of each. We have looked at reasons why choosing a hybrid vehicle is the best option and we have touched on how a hybrid car works.
So to start with lets dive down to it with the most obvious question?
What Are The Benefits Of A Hybrid Car Versus A Regular Diesel Or A Petrol Car?
Running costs is low
its well known that hybrids consume less fuel than the normal cars since the electric motor has been built in such a way it can drive the wheels at a lower speeds and normally it will drive the vehicle for a couple of kilometers let’s say 40. Hybrid vehicle engine do not work so hard since the car is always in motion and that’s reduces fuel consumption.
Environmental friendly due to lower tailpipe emissions
the world is looking at a future where there will be zero emissions and a green ecology future. That future dream has kick started with the hybrids which are producing low emissions which makes them better in cities.
Almost noiseless smooth operation.
Compared to the normal engines hybrid cars are noiseless and very quiet and you can feel the smoothness of the vehicle during its operation.
Performance is quite strong.
when using the hybrid you will feel the electric motor contributes some extra power and torque, which in turn gives a stronger acceleration and throttle reaction.
What are the advantages of a hybrid car versus a full electric car?
Cheapness is the main word here
Using Hyundai Kona SUV as an example its cheaper compared to Hyundai Kona SUV Elite Electric EV. The hybrid version goes at $30,000 while the electric version will cost you $60,000
You don’t get to worry about the range
in most cases the battery which runs the hybrid vehicles usually gets to runout at some point and the hybrid vehicle engine switches back to a normal none hybrid vehicle. However while driving an electric car you will be concerned with the miles it will take you before the power completely goes out and you have to charge the vehicle again for some hours.
You save time since no battery pack need a charge
Evs must be charged and for them to be fully charged you need 30 minutes in a very high charging stations that are not readily available especially out of towns the normal ones available do take 24hrs since they are household sockets.
They don’t need private parking bays
Hybrids usually can generate electricity on their own and the engines are capable of doing that but the EVs need a special parking bay for recharges.
How Do Hybrid Cars Work?
If you aren’t aware there two types of hybrids that exists in the market. There is the regular HEV hybrid and a plug-in hybrid . both of the vehicles have the engine fitted with an electric motor, there is a generator and a battery pack, which is used to send drive to the wheels.
The only difference between the two types of models is the battery packs and the electric only range on offer, and that’s whether the electricity power passes via the engine or on its own external source.
To add on this we have two other hybrid categories that’s the range extender hybrid and mild hybrid.
- Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)
The battery pack installed on a hybrid electric vehicle is a bit smaller however it has the capability of providing enough charge to move a car to speeds and a distance of around 40km/h and about 2km before the engine of the vehicles fires up and takes over the wheels. Thereafter the electric motor can chimes in and out as expected.
This HEV battery normally is charged by the car when its in motion, while its in idle state or via the kinetic energy generated when one brakes. You can’t charge the battery externally and it’s not possible. That’s why you can see Toyota hybrid vehicles being promoted “Self-Charging” which is very true although you still need the fossil fuel for this charging to occur.
On the other hand the PHEV has a larger battery pack which can take you 50km with purely EV power before the engines of the vehicle get engaged. This battery pack is charged the same as HEV but you have to plug in in mains power as well due to its extra size and capacity.
The benefits of HEVs:
Availability: HEV is cheaper and being a new entry into the vehicle electrification market, it has a low running cost, and it’s cheaper than a diesel car.
Enhancement. when you start a HEV engine its very silent and you can feel the smoothness of the electric motor while driving. Its one of the best engines in a quiet getaways.
Packs some energy. Remember that these electric motors will produce their maximum torque which enhances acceleration and an instant throttle response is generated.
Environmental friendly engines. We are going green and HEV do adhere to that dream since they produce fewer carbon and nitrogen oxide emissions than the normal diesel and petrol cars.
Efficiency. When we talk of efficiency in the HEV vehicles fuel preservation is one of the key points to touch, lower emissions and you know the reduction of noise pollution. When you are stuck on the traffic jam basically these engines come to a complete halt.
Just fuel your car every else is automatic. You know this is a combination of engine and an electric motor which tells you that the battery pack is independent it doesn’t need external charging ports or stations. You don’t get to worry about some service station with electric charging systems.
The disadvantages of HEVs:
- Expense. Even though there cheap HEVs in the market in general the HEVs are more expensive than their counterparts which are either diesel or petrol engine models. This is due to the fact that they have electrification fitted in them such as the electric motors and some battery packs. When you choose a hybrid Toyota Corolla over a regular Toyota Corolla that will cost you an extra $1500.
- Outside the city it’s a no. the HEVs are very good cars when used right in the city but outside the city they are not so great. If taken off-road the car performs poorly compared to non-hybrid vehicles and they might disappoint in hilly off-road roads.
- Minimal luggage space- batteries are very heavy and take up much space of the vehicle leaving a minimal space for spare tire and any goods you might want to carry.
- Maintenance is expensive. With HEVs cars there maintenance is on the higher end since these are two propulsion systems that need a service and repairs.
- Issues with Weight: HEVs have more kilograms than regular vehicles this is due to the extra mass of the batteries and other electrical components. When a car has more weight the brakes usually are larger and have to have some more power to stop the vehicle during emergency times. Don’t forget as the weight of the vehicle adds up so does the registration of the vehicle as well.
- The battery degrades. The battery packs usually have a guarantee of 8 years but after eight years you still want to drive your car and they will have weared out. These battery can cost about $1500-42500 depending on the manufacturer.
- Dangers of high voltage: hybrids have a high voltage hardware with over 220v so one has to take care while handling such a machine.
Hybrid cars FAQs/ The Ultimate Hybrid Car FAQ/ commonly asked questions about hybrid cars
Here all your hybrid questions will be answered and these are the most commonly asked questions about hybrid cars. So enlighten yourself with this ultimate hybrid car FAQ
1.What is a hybrid Vehicle
A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle often referred as “hybrid-electric” vehicles due to their capability of using there engine and their electric motors to drive a vehicle.
- Are their different types of hybrids?
Yes there different types of hybrid vehicles. We have Mild Hybrid (MHEVs), Full Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV)
- ARE HYBRIDS FUN TO DRIVE?
Due to the power generated by the engine and a very powerful electric motor driving a hybrid car is fun. When you drive at a low speed or at higher speed or during overtaking the electric motor will deliver a pulling power which will work with tandem with the engine to give the car some power.
- Do I need to charge a hybrid?
Yes this question many people wonder whether they need to charge a hybrid car or not. Well it all depends with the type of hybrid car you have. The full hybrids and mild hybrid car do charge automatically and they do not need to be charged manually by the owner since there charged by the car. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) cant charge themselves and need to be plugged into an electric charge point to boost the power of the batteries just as you charge your phone at home.
- Does a hybrid charge itself?
Well as said earlier full hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles recharge automatically and this happens when the car is on the move, when the car is at standstill or when you apply the braking system as well. This energy usually at the battery packs is what is used to drive a vehicle at low speeds and assist the vehicle in consumption of fuel. Those with plug-in hybrids (PHEVS) batteries they do not charge themselves and there dependent on the user of the vehicle to plug into a socket which has a power source in order for the battery packs to get charged. This happens in a domestic three point plug or an EV charge point.
6.Which is the best –a PHEV or HEV
When you’re on a budget you should go for a hybrid vehicle, when you need an all electrical experience where you don’t have to worry about the extension of journeys then go for PHEV.
- Are hybrids worth it?
Of course they are. This is the future cars and people are transitioning into this era. Less fuel and fewer emissions being there selling point
8.Do I need to install anything at home?
You might be wondering when you purchase a plug-in hybrid vehicle or any other type of hybrid do you need to install anything at home? Well, no, for a mild hybrid vehicle and a full hybrid vehicle as they automatically charge themselves whilst on the move. However for a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) you have to plug in the vehicle into a power source and you can choose to charge it in a public car charging point or you can choose to buy a home charge point, it’s a matter of choice. Many owner of plug-in hybrid vehicles prefer to buy their own home charging system to charge the car overnight.
- What are the advantages of a hybrid/plug-in hybrid?
The cost of purchasing plug-in hybrid is higher and don’t forget during the service it will cost you even more. During registration they will affect overall cost and when taking corners they cars aren’t quite agile.
- Do plug-in hybrids charge while you drive?
The right answer to whether plug-in hybrids charge while one drives is yes they self charge. The engine usually generates power which charges the battery pack and also energy generated during the braking system also charges the battery.
- Which is plug-in hybrid which has the longest range?
This is an interesting question but the king of the road in this case is the Mercedes- Benz’s E300e PHEV which can do 2800km with the help of its 60 litre petrol tank and battery.
- Is it possible to drive a plug-in hybrid without charging?
Yes this is very possible and its just as driving a regular car that is non hybrid. The only downside of it is it will use more fuel than a normal engine car.
- Must you charge a plug-in-hybrid
No its not a must you charge a plug-in-hybrid but you loose all the advantages that are brought by a pure electric drive.
14.Can hybrid cars run on fuel only?
The right answer to whether hybrids cars can run on fuel only is yes. HEVs only use there electrical capability for a range of 2km only and the petrol engine kicks in to assist. However do not forget that plug-in models can take up to 50km which is quite a distance before the engine takes over.
- What will happen when the battery of a hybrid car runs out of power?
Well, nothing will happen and the car wont stop as the engine will take over and the journey continues as if nothing happened. The battery will be recharged as the car moves or in stationery or when brake are applied.
- How long do hybrid car batteries last
Hybrid car batteries have a guarantee of about 8 years before another battery is required to be a replacement.
- How much do hybrid battery cost
Depending on the manufacturer of a hybrid battery the range is between $1500- 3000 and also depends with the size of the battery.
18.Does a hybrid car need less maintenance?
The answer to this question is no and in fact a hybrid vehicle requires more to maintain it than a regular vehicle and this is why. Hybrid cars have electric motors and internal combustion engines which are two systems that need maintenance therefore the cost will be more. In the near future when everyone has embraced hybrid vehicles the cost of maintenance will most likely go down as it will be the new normal.
- Does a hybrid car need oil?
You might be wondering what kind of question is this but believe you me someone somewhere might have no idea whether a hybrid car needs an oil or they do not need any. Well a hybrid car has an internal combustion engine just like a normal petrol or a diesel car, and this internal combustion engine (ICE) needs maintenance on a regular basis, so yes a hybrid car needs oil. If you want to prevent the wear and tear which is generated during friction of moving parts you need to check on the engine oil and change it every 9,000 miles covered or even sooner.
20.Are hybrid cars manual or automatic?
For a hybrid car to function in its optimal state nearly all manufacturers of hybrid vehicles have manufactured all their cars with an automatic gearbox which makes a lot of sense. Most of these cars have a continuously variable transmissions (CVT) which is a single speed automatic gearbox. The way it has been manufactured it makes the car more efficient eliminating the need of having a manual hybrid vehicle.
- When Was the First Hybrid Introduced?
I know you will be shocked but the very first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle to have been made was in 1917. This car was a huge commercial failure as the manufacturers found out its too slow and one of the most difficult cars to service. The project was abandoned but later introduced into the world in the 1990 by Toyota motor company with its introduction of the model Prius in 1997. Honda followed swiftly in 1999 when it introduced its Insight model.
- Which hybrid car is the cheapest?
Today nearly every automotive manufacturer is in a hurry to release a hybrid model of a car and the competition is getting stiffer day by day. To know the cheapest hybrid car check in our list here you will find a wind range of vehicles and there prices.
- What Sort of Reliability Issues Might Hybrids Have?
One of the most difficult questions to answer since it depends with so many factors. I know its one of the questions that is a big worry for consumers of hybrid vehicles since many of them have become used to the reliability of modern none hybrid vehicles. As of today there has been a major improvement with the release of hybrid vehicles and we can say there very reliable vehicles. The only down side of these vehicles is there high maintenance cost and the need to change these battery pack after every 8-10 years which is pretty not bad.
- Are There Safety Risks with Hybrid Cars?
Compared to the conventional vehicles out there, hybrid vehicles has proved to be just as safe as any other vehicle. However we can’t give a 100% exception to this rule because when this car is in operation and at a low speed it’s nearly impossible to hear it, and this quietness may pose a risk to the blind or other pedestrians. These cars do also pose a greater risk of fatality as they have been built to be light vehicles so that they can achieve a greater mileage. Other risks involved have been posed by the battery pack which is an electrocution hazard if not handled with care.
- Is There a Hybrid Smart Car?
Yes there hybrid smart cars but they haven’t been manufactured by the Daimler Benz the company that owns the Smart car brand Smart Four Two. These hybrid cars have been converted into smart hybrid cars by companies such as Lithium Technology Corporation and Zytek Systems . But there plans underway to introduce an all-electric smart vehicle or micro hybrid smart vehicles soon.