In this guide, we’ve put together a list of some of the pros and cons of hybrid cars.
It could be useful in helping to compare hybrid cars against traditional internal combustion engine vehicles and other types of vehicles, like electric cars or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Summary – Pros & Cons Of Hybrid Cars
Can be cheaper to run and more fuel efficient compared to other types of vehicles
Technology is progressing steadily and improving
Reporting system is intuitive
Prices are getting more competitive
Easy to re-fuel or charge
There’s quick charge technology available
There can be tax benefits for hybrids
Have better range than electric cars
Re-sale value of a hybrid is generally OK
Can keep the motor warmer longer
Expensive upfront costs
Plug in hybrid charging times vary
Number of quick re-charge stations are limited
Still produce pollution and greenhouse gases
Still relies on finite fossil fuels in some ways
Number of hybrid models available are limited
Different cars can take different charging plugs
Can be less fuel efficient on highways
Hybrids are currently made more for efficiency, not performance and other uses
Different hybrids have different technology
Battery replacements and electric based repairs and maintenance can be costly
You may have to get an emissions test on the car
Hybrids won’t solve some existing road problems
In general, hybrids might provide a more fuel efficient and more eco friendly option to petrol or diesel only cars in the short term – they produce less pollution and greenhouse gases overall usually
Right now, some hybrids may even be more eco friendly that some electric cars – especially the small to medium size hybrids
Electric vehicles (with only batteries and electric motors) and possibly hydrogen fuel cell vehicles might be more eco friendly in the long term though as electricity grids get cleaner
Hybrids could be good vehicle to help transition to those vehicle types (until EV technology advances, and until energy mixes become more clean worldwide)
*Note – these are very general pros and cons of hybrid cars.
Each brand and model of hybrid vehicle is obviously going to offer it’s own pros and cons, and each driver is going to have different requirements.
There will continue to be different variables as technology changes and society changes.
Different countries and cities also have different energy mixes, and policies and regulations in places which may change the pros and cons of hybrid cars in different places.
So, pros and cons can be vehicle, driver and location specific.
What Are Hybrid Vehicles
Hybrid vehicles are essentially vehicles that have the ability to utilize both an internal combustion motor with petroleum fuel based system, and electricity.
You can read a guide about the different types of hybrid vehicles here
The two main types of hybrid vehicles are HEVs, and PHEVs.
HEVs supplement a primarily petroleum fuel based system with some electricity captured from regenerative braking
PHEVs on the other hand have the ability to plug into an external power source to charge an electric battery.
Pros Of Hybrid Cars
Several Types Of Hybrids Available
Both plug in, and non plug in types available.
Each model of hybrid may use petroleum based fuels and electricity in different proportions.
Can Be Cheaper To Run & More Fuel Efficient
Can be cheaper and more fuel efficient to operate compared to a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle.
Better efficiency can be attained when using electricity which supplements the petroleum fuel system.
Electricity can also be cheaper per mile than petroleum based fuels in some States/Provinces
Having said this, miles driven per dollar spent should be calculated individually for each model of vehicle.
Technology Is Progressing Steadily & Improving
Hybrid technology has had more money and investment put into it’s development over time.
Improvements can be made in range of driving, efficiency, durability, prices, range of models, and more.
Reporting System Can Be Easy To Understand
Some hybrids have an easy to read in-vehicle performance reporting system in the dash display, which can make these cars more user friendly.
Prices Are Getting More Competitive
As technology and development progresses, prices should get more competitive over time
Easy To Re-Fuel Or Charge
HEVS can be re-fuelled like regular cars, and the refuelling is quite quick
The plug in models are also fairly simple to charge, but charging times might vary
There’s Quick Charge Technology Available
Plug in hybrids might have quick charge technology available via direct current quick chargers.
These chargers might add about 50 miles to the range of any electric vehicle in under 30 minutes.
There Can Be Tax Benefits (Concessions & Credits) For Hybrids
This is dependent on the State/Province though.
Some regions have completely phased out tax benefits for hybrids though, and even full electric cars in some instances.
Check your area’s tax guidelines.
Can Have Better Driving Range Than All Electric Cars
Compared to all electric cars, hybrid cars can usually drive a longer distance.
The internal combustion engine usually kicks in at a certain point to take over from the electrical energy system.
Can Be Better For The Environment In Some Ways
This is dependent on several factors though.
Increased fuel efficiency alone though can mean less carbon emissions and fine particulate matter emissions at the car operation stage.
Some reports indicate that hybrids cut emissions by 25% to 35% over even the most fuel efficient gas powered models.
Re-Sale Value Can Be OK In Some Instances
Some hybrids maintain their value better than some all electric vehicles, but, it depends on the model and other values
Can Keep The Motor Warmer Longer
Some hybrids keep the motor warmer longer once you stop the car than a conventional petrol car.
This can lead to there being less wear and tear on the motor long term
Cons Of Hybrid Cars
Can Be More Expensive Upfront
Some hybrids are more expensive in terms of retail price than like for like conventional cars
This obviously depends on the model though
Plug In Hybrid Charging Times Vary
It can take hours to charge a plug in hybrid
Compare this to the refill of conventional cars that takes only minutes
Number Of Quick Charge Stations Are Limited
Quick recharge station numbers for plug in hybrids are limited in many cities at this point
Still Emits Pollution & Greenhouse Gases
Any car using gasoline or conventional fuel still emits pollution and greenhouse gases.
Additionally, there are emissions involved in the production of the electricity that a hybrid car uses if it’s plugging in and charging a battery
Still Relies On Finite Fossil Fuels In Some Way
Any car using gasoline or conventional fuel still relies on a finite supply of fossil fuel like oil
Range Of Hybrid Models Available Are Limited
There’s not as wide of a selection of hybrid models and brands as there is conventional cars
Different Charging Plugs/Connections May Sometimes Present Compatibility Issues
Some hybrid models may experience compatibility issues if swapping between different charging mechanisms/plugs/connections.
Can Be Less Fuel Efficient On Highways
Compared to some conventional cars, a hybrid might be less fuel efficient on a highway, or on stretches of uninterrupted longer driving.
This is because there is no breaking, starting and stopping.
Hybrids generally excel in inner city and urban driving where there is more stopping and starting, and hybrids have an opportunity to switch between their different energy systems, and optimize for fuel economy.
It does depend on the hybrid model itself though.
Hybrids Are Made More For Efficiency, Not Performance & Other Uses
Compared to say sport model petrol cars, you generally get far less high end performance features, and less high end power output in the average hybrid car.
They are more a inner city and urban car built for fuel efficiency at this stage, rather than a long range driving or performance car.
They are also probably not the best family cars right now.
Different Hybrids Have Different Technology
Not all hybrids have the same technology with how they integrate with electricity.
When swapping between different hybrid models, this might introduce a learning curve for some owners.
Check what technology your hybrid has before buying.
Battery Replacements & Electricity System Repairs & Maintenance Can Be Costly
Compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle, hybrid vehicles may have to deal with issues with the battery or the electric powertrain.
These issues may in some instances be expensive to fix.
You may also have to send the car to the dealer for this as a regular mechanic may not be able to fix these issues, or be licensed to fix these issues.
You May Have To Get An Emissions Test On The Car To Confirm The Real Eco Rating
Some hybrids aren’t as eco friendly with emissions as they might claim.
Getting an independent emissions test done on this can help determine the real eco rating for both particulate matter pollutants, and carbon emissions.
A Country Or State’s Energy Mix Can Be A Variable In Emissions
When dealing with plug in hybrids specifically, you’ll want to know how clean the electricity is you are using to charge the battery.
If coal is the main energy source used to generate electricity in your city, then the car won’t be as eco friendly as when the electricity comes from a cleaner energy source.
Hybrids Won’t Solve Some Existing Road Problems
Hybrids are unlikely to solve urban mobility and infrastructure-related problems such as traffic congestion.
Redesigning cities, encouraging biking, and encouraging more walking may be better solutions.
Comparison Of Hybrid Vehicles vs Other Types Of Vehicles