Hybrid cars, like electric cars, offer an alternative to traditional gas-powered vehicles that lower operating costs and emit fewer emissions. A hybrid vehicle has many advantages over an all-electric car and vice versa. For the main differences between electric and hybrid vehicles, read on.
What is a hybrid car, and how does it work?
Hybrid cars combine two types of vehicles, electric and gasoline-powered, as their name implies. They have also known internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEs). Hybrid cars have a combustion engine that uses gasoline and an electric motor that is rechargeable with a battery pack to power electric-powered driving. Hybrids can run both engines simultaneously to increase power or rely only on one engine, depending on their driving style.
There are two types: plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and standard hybrids. Standard hybrids use a regenerative brake and an internal combustion engine to charge a lithium-ion battery pack. This provides additional electric power. They cannot be charged at an electric vehicle charging station like PHEVs. PHEVs are more like fully-electric vehicles because of this. PHEVs have more electric batteries than standard hybrids and can drive electric power.
Hybrids typically have shorter battery ranges than all-electric vehicles. The electrical capacity is more designed to complement gasoline driving and maximize fuel efficiency. Hybrids may offer an electric-only driving mode limited to low speeds and very short ranges. Hybrids that draw power from the electric motor only below certain speeds are more efficient than those that operate at highway speeds. Hybrids can be seen as an intermediate option for transitioning from fossil fuels to more renewable energy sources.
Is a hybrid car right for you?
A hybrid could be a great investment, depending on your driving requirements and lifestyle. Hybrids have an electric battery that is smaller than a fully electric vehicle’s battery. This means they can only be used for limited electric driving. You may still be able to use electricity for most of your driving time if you only have a short commute or plan to use your car frequently for short trips. A hybrid might be a good option if this is the case. You won’t need to burn gasoline as often and don’t have the expense of buying fuel.
A hybrid may not be the best option if you have a long commute and need to drive your car on longer trips. Hybrid savings come from not stopping at the gas station as frequently as with a conventional ICE. Driving long distances that exceed your hybrid’s battery capacity will allow you to keep these trips to the station within your daily routine. When your commute is short, a hybrid vehicle can save you money. The small electric battery will power the majority of your driving.
Comparison of electric and hybrid cars in terms of cost
All-electric and hybrid cars have batteries that can run more efficiently than traditional gas-powered vehicles. There are, however, some differences in the costs of these eco-friendly alternatives.
The fuel type is a major difference between electric and hybrid vehicles. Both types of vehicles have a battery that can recharge with electricity. There are many sources of electricity, including burning fossil fuels and renewable sources such as solar, wind, or hydropower. To reduce their carbon footprint, environmentally-conscious car owners have the option to choose renewable options such as solar panels at home.
Hybrids can run on gasoline or electricity, but they have fuel flexibility. Some hybrids can automatically switch between gasoline-powered and electric travel depending on your driving habits. This is a great option as it removes some of your stress from an electric vehicle’s limited range. An electric vehicle will run out of battery much faster than one with a combination of gasoline and electricity. This is because gas stations are more common than EV charging stations.
All-electric vehicles are less expensive in fuel costs. Instead of spending money on a full tank for gas, you’re adding to your home’s electricity bill. The Department of Energy created an easy tool called the eGallon that allows you to compare driving costs with electricity vs gasoline. It is based on the current electricity and gas prices in each state. Electricity prices tend to fluctuate less than gasoline prices per mile and are generally lower.
Other than fuel costs, vehicle ownership comes with other costs. Car owners can sink significant amounts of money into maintenance costs. Hybrids face many of the same maintenance problems as ICEs. Even though hybrids are more likely to need replacements for their engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and belts, they can cost more over the vehicle’s life than ICEs that rely solely on it.
EVs are more affordable than traditional combustion engines. They still need to be maintained. This includes universal car issues such as tire changes, insurance, and structural damage. Hybrids can rely upon their electric motor to reduce the strain on their combustion engines, so they might not be as expensive to maintain as traditional ICEs. However, they will still cost more to maintain than an ICE.
Battery degradation is possible in hybrids and all-electric vehicles. If your car’s warranty is still valid and your battery has not degraded beyond the guarantee point, there will be no need to pay for a replacement. However, if your warranty has expired, it could cost you a lot to replace the complicated electric battery. Although most EV/hybrid owners will not have to worry about replacing their car battery, it is possible for those who own an EV or hybrid.
Rebates and incentives
Federal and state incentives are another reason to choose an electric or hybrid vehicle. These rebates can offset the higher price of a non-ICE car and make it more affordable to go electric or hybrid. Rebates and incentives available for EVs or hybrids change constantly. It’s vital to be aware of what incentives and rebates are available. EnergySage’s electric-car tax credits guide provides more information about state and federal EV incentives.
Hybrids and electric vehicles both have incentives to reduce the cost of switching to electricity. The incentives are always changing and can vary from one state to another. It is important to verify your options for purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle.