The pros and cons of hybrid cars

While electric vehicles are gaining popularity world-wide, the adoption in South Africa is slower. In the meantime, hybrid cars serve as the middle ground into the silent form of propulsion.

Hybrids pair an electric motor and a battery with an internal combustion engine (ICE), and they work together to boost efficiency and keep emissions low. The ICE sends power to charge the battery pack, and energy from braking is captured and stored as energy. In this way, they are ‘self-charging’.

Most good hybrids include a choice of power modes ranging from eco to power. Unlike pure electric vehicles (EVs), you won’t have to worry about running out of battery because the ICE always ensures there is sufficient power unless the system is a plug-in derivative (PHEV).

Related: Toyota Crown Crossover Hybrid set to hit the South African Market

“With the high price of EVs, a hybrid vehicle might be a steppingstone towards all-electric, offering two clear benefits: enhanced fuel efficiency and lower emissions,” explains Barend Smit, Marketing Director of MotorHappy, a supplier of motor management solutions and car insurance options.

“While the country grapples with ongoing electricity issues and better infrastructure for EVs is installed, hybrid cars are a good transitional option.”

Related: No hybrid Giulia or Stelvio planned for Alfa Romeo, only future EVs

However, Smit cautions that while there are good environmental and financial advantages to hybrids, they are not the best solution for all drivers. Below are some pros and cons which you should consider before buying a hybrid car.

Pros of Hybrids

  • Environmentally friendly due to lower sulphur and nitrogen oxides emission.
  • Savings on fuel costs.
  • Quieter than conventional gasoline-powered cars.
  • Less wear and tear on the car’s internal combustion engine (ICE), thus requiring less maintenance.
  • No ‘range anxiety’ as in the case of fully electric cars, because your engine powers the hybrid battery.

Cons of Hybrids

  • Higher upfront costs, although they are still more affordable than EVs.
  • Batteries are expensive and require replacement after around 10 years.
  • Not economical on highway driving because hybrids rely on ICE at faster speeds.
  • Repair costs for hybrid systems are high.

Some older hybrid models had experimental features which failed, and their batteries deteriorated quickly, such as the Honda Accord Hybrid in 2005, and SUV Hybrids by GM in 2008.

Since that advent, hybrid technology has improved significantly.

“If you’re going to choose a hybrid model, it’s advisable to choose a newer model with the latest technology to avoid reliability issues,” concludes Smit.

Read the original article on Car Mag.

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