Hybrid Vehicles: The Pros and Cons You Should Know About

The automotive industry has been revolutionized by introducing hybrid technology into cars. It’s no longer just an option to choose from when buying your next car — it’s becoming increasingly common for people to opt for hybrids over other types of vehicles.

If you’re still on the fence about which type of vehicle you should buy or if you’ve decided that you’d like to take advantage of the benefits offered by hybrids but are unsure how they actually work, read on! We will answer all of your questions about hybrid vehicles in this piece.

Let’s start with some background information first.

The Growing Popularity of Hybrid Vehicles

In 2019 alone, more than 1 million new hybrid vehicles were sold around the world. And according to research conducted by auto experts at LMC Automotive, sales of hybrid passenger cars grew by 23 percent compared to 2018. This figure was even higher during Q1 2020 and has increased by 40 percent year-over-year.

This means there’s never been a better time to invest in a hybrid vehicle. If you’ve been thinking about getting one, we’ll help you by listing the pros and cons of these vehicles later in the article. 

However, before we get into the specifics of the benefits and pitfalls, it helps to have the proper background information. What exactly is a hybrid vehicle, and how do they work? 

What Is a Hybrid Vehicle?

A hybrid vehicle refers to any automobile powered by electricity and another energy source. There are several different kinds of hybrid vehicles, each using various methods to power them. 

All hybrids have some form of electric-powered or clean energy option to power them. When these alternative forms of powering the vehicle run out, the car switches to full-gasoline mode for the duration of the trip. 

Some examples include diesel-electric hybrids, gas-electric hybrids, plug-in hybrids, mild hybrids, full hybrids, and other specific models. No modern hybrid vehicles run solely off of battery packs. However, they all combine electricity with alternative sources such as gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and hydrogen fuel cells. 

While most drivers believe that hybrid vehicles are safer because they produce fewer emissions, many don’t realize that other forms of vehicles that aren’t fully electric are comparable to hybrids. For example, vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells burn cleaner than hybrids. They typically have a longer range, as well. 

Compressed natural gas-burning vehicles were neck and neck with most hybrids when it comes to low emissions. However, after Honda discontinued its natural gas-burning Civic in 2016, no other major manufacturers stepped in to fill the void. Currently, these vehicles are only widely available for fleet options. 

Modern diesel-burning vehicles can compete with most standard fuel-burning vehicles. However, neither are quite as efficient as a hybrid. 

If you were thinking about purchasing a hybrid solely for environmental purposes, it’s important to understand that you do have other options. Otherwise, if you’re into the additional features of a hybrid, these vehicles can still be a great purchase for several more reasons. 

How Does a Hybrid Vehicle Work? 

All hybrid cars operate through two separate yet complementary modes. These are called parallel hybrid mode and series hybrid mode. Each one works independently and together to propel the car forward. Let’s discuss each one separately below:

Parallel Mode

When operating in parallel mode, the engine turns the generator, which then charges up the batteries. Once charged, the batteries send an appropriate signal to the motor controller, causing it to turn on. 

When the wheels need extra power to move the vehicle forward, the generator assists the motor by spinning its rotor connected to the crankshaft. This method increases efficiency and reduces wear and tear on parts.

Series Mode

Unlike parallel hybrid mode, the generator only provides power to the motor while the engine runs normally. So when the driver steps on the accelerator pedal, the generator spins faster until it reaches speeds sufficient enough to keep the motor energized. 

When the speed rises above what the generator can handle, the clutch disengages the generator from the transmission, allowing the engine to continue powering the car without being restricted.

Both modes offer improvements over traditional models. But since they require additional components, they are often quite expensive and not practical for smaller budgets. Therefore, most manufacturers use a combination of the two modes to balance price and performance.

In the last year, hybrids have seen a slight price decrease. With the inception of more fully-electric vehicles, more of the demand has been placed on the latter. 

This has led to hybrid manufacturers feeling the need to remain competitive, leading to these lower prices. As we mentioned earlier, if you’re interested in purchasing a hybrid, now might be the perfect time to do it. 

Now that you have some background knowledge of these vehicles, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of owning a hybrid. 

Pros and Cons of a Hybrid Vehicle

Just like any other consumer purchase, hybrid vehicles have their pros and cons. Any potential buyer should be aware of each to make the most informed decision possible. 

In the section below, we’ll start with the pros, so you understand the most significant benefits of becoming a hybrid owner. 

Pros of a Hybrid Vehicle

There are plenty of things that makes owning a hybrid vehicle so great. Here are five major advantages.

Save Money On Gas

One thing that everyone wants nowadays is financial security. With prices rising drastically every day, saving money on fuel becomes even more important. 

A typical SUV requires roughly 300 gallons of gas per month based on average driving habits. While you may think that a $200-$300 monthly bill isn’t too bad, imagine paying thousands of dollars in gas bills due to high gas prices in a few years. That would be devastating.

With hybrids, however, you get an excellent solution, because they partially run on battery power rather than entirely on fossil fuels, and they consume far less gas than normal vehicles. 

You Can Drive Smarter & Safer

Because hybrids are designed to improve fuel economy, they tend to accelerate and brake slower than conventional cars. Since they weigh slightly less, they typically respond quicker to your input. Also, regenerative brakes allow hybrids to stop almost instantly after applying pressure to the brake pedals.

These factors translate into improved overall safety and reduced risk of injury. Plus, the slower acceleration doesn’t cause passengers discomfort from the quick jerking motion that a sticky accelerator pedal has. 

Better Fuel Economy Than Conventional Cars

Another major benefit of having a hybrid vehicle is achieving superior fuel economy. According to Consumer Reports, the best-rated hybrid cars achieve 52 mpg city and 48 highway. By contrast, the worst-performing ones manage 13 miles per gallon less in both categories.

Let’s look at the standard sedan Chevy Malibu with the rival Toyota Prius hybrid for comparison purposes. The Toyota gets 58MPG in the city and 53MPG on the highway. Meanwhile, the Malibu manages 29 MPG in the city and 36 MPG on the highways. All said and done; the Toyota saves you approximately $1,800 per year on gas costs.

Additionally, when your vehicle gets better fuel economy, it’s much easier on your vehicle. This leaves you with higher odds of getting a much longer life out of your car. You also can avoid spending a lot of money on costly repairs. 

Noise Level Lower Than Conventional Vehicles

Since hybrids partially run on electricity, they produce very little noise at low speeds as opposed to cars with only internal combustion engines. Additionally, because hybrids usually have larger batteries, they generate considerably fewer vibrations than ordinary cars.

Cons of a Hybrid Vehicle

Despite all the positive points listed above, there are disadvantages to owning a hybrid vehicle as well. Below are three main drawbacks that might sway your decision against investing in a hybrid.

Performance

Save for a couple of higher-end models of hybrid vehicles, most of these cars were designed with two simple things in mind – to improve the fuel economy and reduce the owner’s carbon footprint by lowering emissions. This means that manufacturers had to design pretty much every part of the vehicle to meet these specific requirements. 

Overall, a hybrid vehicle’s internal combustion engine has a lower state of tune and other critical parts that were crafted to achieve significantly higher MPG. Because of this design, most hybrids are slower and less attractive from a performance standpoint. This could make it a tough selling point for those of you who need speed. 

Increased Insurance Rates

According to the national average, a hybrid car is $41 more expensive per month when it comes to insurance than normal vehicles. This can likely be directly attributed to the increased price of hybrids in comparison to standard non-hybrid, normal fuel-burning cars. 

Additionally, consumers who purchase hybrids often live in cities and more densely populated areas that have increased insurance rates. Repair rates are also substantially higher on hybrids, which factors into the cost of insurance premiums. 

Cold Temps

If you own a hybrid during the winter months, you’re likely to find that hybrid batteries take much longer to reach optimal charging. They also take longer to reach the appropriate operating temperature. 

Because of this, the internal combustion engine must put out more energy through fuel combustion. In cold weather, you’ll notice your fuel economy is not as efficient as it is during the warmer months. 

Now that you have a good feel for the pros and cons of these vehicles, let’s take a look at some of the more popular types of hybrid vehicles on the market. 

Popular Types of Hybrid Vehicles

Now that you know everything about hybrid vehicles, it’s time to decide whether you’d like to invest in one. Before deciding which model suits you best, check out these popular hybrid vehicles currently on the market. 

Depending on the type of vehicle you prefer, you should find something on this list that suits your tastes. 

Toyota Prius Prime

The Prius was one of the first popular hybrids to hit the market. Combined with the efficiency of Toyota’s vehicle selection already, this car will save you a lot of money at the gas pump and has a substantial life expectancy. 

Toyota Highlander Hybrid

This is Toyota’s version of a hybrid SUV, which gets great gas mileage and has a sleek look. 

Chevrolet Bolt EV

This was the first Chevy hybrid design and is one of the most popular. If you like compact cars, the Chevrolet Bolt could be a great option

Volkswagen e-Up

Volkswagen’s fuel-efficient hybrid is another fantastic option that’s great on gas. 

Ford Mustang Mach-E

This is one of the first American muscle cars to come in a hybrid version and is bridging the gap between sports cars and environmentally-friendly vehicles. 

Fiat 500e

This is the Italian manufacturer’s version of a hybrid vehicle.

BMW iX

This sleek BMW is one of the most anticipated hybrid vehicles in history. The interior of this BMW Is mind-blowing and looks futuristic. It also has a significant amount of power for a hybrid. 

Nissan Leaf

This is Nissan’s first attempt at a hybrid vehicle and has been well-rated so far. 

Additional hybrid models include: 

  • Suzuki Vitara HybriDrive
  • Dodge Ram 3500 HEMI
  • Honda Civic GX
  • Jeep Wrangler Plug-In
  • Mercedes EQC 100d
  • Jaguar I-Pace
  • Peugeot 4008 HYMREZ
  • Renault ZOE II
  • Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

Over the last year, pretty much every major manufacturer has released its version of a hybrid vehicle. You probably noticed some of the classics on the list, including the Honda Civic, Ford Mustang, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Ram, and others. 

This could indicate a shift towards an all-hybrid lineup one day as full-electric cars become more popular. 

Is Your Next Car Going to Be a Hybrid?

Owners of conventional cars may wonder why anyone would ever choose a hybrid vehicle over theirs. After reading this article, hopefully, you’ll understand the advantages provided by hybrids. Now that you know what they are, it’s easier to decide whether or not you’d like to own one.

And remember, if you find yourself wondering whether you should buy a brand new or used hybrid car, ask the seller where he got his last car from. You want to get the background information on any pre-owned hybrid to be sure there are no major issues with the battery cell.

Resources

https://afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/how-do-hybrid-electric-cars-work

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_vehicle

https://www.edmunds.com/hybrid/ 

Written by Strut Daddy's

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Why Choose StrutDaddy's?

  • Rapid, Accurate Diagnosis & Repair
  • Quality Workmanship, Fair Prices
  • ASE Certified Technicians
  • Customer Care & Convenience
  • Commitment to Our Service-Oriented Code of Ethics
  • Free Shuttle Service Available