In this guide, we’ve put together a list of some of the potential pros and cons of hybrid cars.
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
May help save on health related costs from air pollution from conventional vehicles
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
These are generalized pros and cons of hybrid cars only.
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 that impacts pros and cons.
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.
How the vehicle is operated may be another variable to consider.
So, pros and cons can be vehicle, driver and location specific.
Firstly, What Are Hybrid Vehicles?
You can read more about what hybrid vehicles are in comparison to other vehicles here, and also about the different types of hybrid vehicles here.
Potential Pros Of Hybrid Cars
Several Types Of Hybrids Available
Both plug in, and non plug in types of hybrid vehicles are available.
Each model of hybrid vehicle may use both 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 achieve accurate cost per mile measurements.
Technology Is Progressing Steadily & Improving
Hybrid technology has had more money and investment put into it’s development over time.
Improvements have been and 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 for drivers.
Prices Are Getting More Competitive
As technology and development progresses, prices should get more competitive over time with economies of scale and other economic factors driving cost and price improvements.
Easy To Re-Fuel Or Charge
HEVS can be re-fuelled like regular cars, and the refuelling is quite quick comparative to some other types of cars.
The plug in models are also fairly simple to charge, but charging times might vary on these models.
There’s Quick Charge Technology Available
Plug in hybrids might have quick charge technology available via direct current quick chargers.
According to some reports, these chargers might add about 50 miles to the range of any electric vehicle in under 30 minutes.
This option may benefit some drivers.
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 and concession guidelines for confirmation.
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.
This is dependent on several factors though.
When assessing increased fuel efficiency alone though, this can lead to 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.
May Help Save On Health Related Costs From Air Pollution From Conventional Vehicles
solarquotes.com.au mentions that in Australia:
… air pollution from cars could be killing more people than car crashes and could be costing Australia over $10 billion a year.
If we assume the amount is $10 billion … Toxic vehicle pollution would be greatly reduced if fuel-efficient hybrids were used, but would not be eliminated.
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 variables as to the final re-sale value that can be achieved
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
Potential 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 brand and model though, and other variables like features, performance, etc.
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 in time
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 where there is less breaking, starting and stopping.
Hybrids might perform better 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 as to whether this is the case.
Hybrids Are Made More For Efficiency, Not Performance & Other Uses
Compared to say sport model conventional 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 a hybrid vehicle 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 probably 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.
5. Various ‘Better Meets Reality’ guides