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Oct 28, 2022

Hybrid vs Electric Cars: Differences and Features

With the fight against global climate change accelerating at a steady pace, the population is slowly but surely adopting certain measures. One of the biggest such measures and movements right now is the usage of hybrid or electric cars. 

The European Union announced in July 2022 that their new goal in the fight against climate change is to completely ban the sales of new ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars from 2035 onwards. 

This is supposed to bring a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and should stave off global warming by a few decades, at least until we start coming up with even better solutions. For now, the world is seemingly moving closer to an electrified future with no petrol or gasoline cars on the roads. 

So, what makes hybrids/electric cars unique, what are their pros and cons, and what are some key differences between these two categories of vehicles? Let’s find out!

What are Hybrid Cars?

There are a couple of different types of hybrid cars but they all share the same principle of having an ICE which is powered by petrol, and a battery providing them with electric power. The main difference between hybrid cars is how much electric power the hybrid uses compared to its ICE. 

The three main categories of hybrid cars are mild hybrids, series hybrids, and PHEVs (Plug-In Hybrids). However, the most important thing to note is that if the car's electrical power fails, the car can still operate as an ICE albeit at a slight power deficit during acceleration and more fuel consumption. 

This characteristic makes them a popular choice among common city folk because they’re generally cheaper and easier to maintain than electric cars. On the other hand, they don’t have the same impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions (since they still use fuel to run) and they don’t get the same economic incentives compared to fully electric cars, but they’re a much better choice than petrol/diesel cars. 

What are Electric Cars?

Electric cars completely rely on electrical power that is produced by the car’s battery pack. Depending on the size of the car and the size of the batteries, electric cars have a driving range of between 150 and 500 miles. 

It’s worth noting that the technology used for producing electric cars improves on a 5-year basis on average. In essence, the cars we have now can go a lot longer before their power runs out compared to 5 years ago. Based on this information, we might see electric cars with 1,000-mile ranges in the coming decade. 

Electric cars are greenhouse-gas-free, meaning they have the biggest impact on the fight against climate change. Their main drawbacks at the moment are relatively high prices and the lack of a secondary powerplant option when one runs out of fuel (or in this case electric power). 

With that said, most of the US is covered with charge stations so unless you’re planning on a trip to an obscure location, you most likely won’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll have enough charge to reach your destination. 

Pros and Cons of Hybrid and Electric Cars

While both hybrid and electric cars are considered the vehicles of the future, the decision to purchase one for yourself is not easy. As a society, we are used to what internal combustion vehicles provide for us; hybrids and electric cars are a different experience altogether.

So, before you decide to purchase one of these options, make sure you understand the pros and cons of both categories of climate-friendly vehicles:

Hybrid pros:

  • Two powerplants: This enables hybrid vehicle owners to continue going if the electric power fails. The two powerplants work in tandem to provide optimal performance and fuel consumption which gives them more flexibility on the road. 
  • Ideal for renters: Compared to electric vehicles, hybrids are the perfect choice for renters who want to switch to a more sustainable mode of transportation. Electric vehicles can be difficult to own if you don’t have a charging station at home because you’ll always have to go elsewhere to charge the batteries. Hybrids don’t suffer from this problem. 
  • Affordable repair costs: If a component of a hybrid vehicle breaks down, its repair will generally be cheaper and quicker than if the same situation happens to an electric vehicle. 

Hybrid cons:

  • Higher possibility of parts breaking down: Because hybrids have plenty of moving parts (less so than pure ICE vehicles but still a lot), the chances of something breaking down are higher. While this doesn’t necessarily mean they are unreliable, they still need some care to keep running without issues.
  • Increased maintenance costs: In order to keep hybrids running optimally, more maintenance is required than with electric vehicles. And while repairs are cheaper, you still don’t want to wait for days or months for your car to get fixed, so consistent maintenance is required. Unfortunately, this also means the cost of maintaining your hybrid is higher.  

Electric pros: 

  • No greenhouse gas emissions: The biggest benefit of electric vehicles is that they don’t produce greenhouse gasses while running. This means that they are the most efficient way to combat climate change.
  • Perfect for homeowners: If you own a home and have the ability to charge an electric car then that’s the best choice you could make. Bonus points for having a solar power system that can make the charging process almost entirely free of charge (pun intended)!
  • Reliability: Because electric cars have fewer moving parts and are completely dependent on electric power, there is little chance that something will go wrong. They are inherently more reliable than hybrids and especially internal combustion vehicles.

Electric cons:

  • High repair costs: Although the possibility of an electric car breaking down is low, if it does happen, the repair costs will be pretty high. The reason for this is that it’s more difficult and dangerous to repair electrical systems compared to traditional mechanical systems. 
  • No charge standstill: If your electric power runs out, you’ll have to stop at the side of the road and await towing. There’s no backup system to default to (such as an ICE), so you need to be very mindful when planning your trips to ensure there are sufficient charging stations along the way. 

Why you Should Make the Switch from Gasoline/Petrol to Hybrid/Electric Cars

Electric cars hold their value longer, especially as the rest of the world begins eliminating fossil fuels in the transportation network. Petrol/Diesel vehicles will eventually be phased out, replaced by hybrids, electrical cars, or some other designs that humanity may come up with. 

There are already numerous government incentives in place to help you make the switch such as tax cuts and rebates. However, if you care about the future of our planet and our well-being, the best reason to go electric or hybrid is its positive environmental impact. 

Reducing our output of greenhouse gasses on a global scale (because a huge percentage of the global population uses vehicles for transport) will go a long way in fighting climate change. So, ask around your local area and check with your local government to see what sort of incentives you can receive for the purchase and ownership of an electric car. 

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