Are hybrid cars worth buying?
Are hybrid cars worth buying?
Benefits of hybrid cars
Hybrid vehicles in the UK record gains of around 12% year on year, and a percentage of 10% of UK car registrations are accounted for by hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles.
This rise in popularity is largely due to the ability to combine the benefits of both electric and petrol-powered vehicles. Significant benefits of hybrid electric vehicles include increased fuel efficiency and lower emissions compared to traditional cars.
As well as environmental advantages, hybrid cars deliver improved performance and reduced noise pollution compared to traditional gas-powered vehicles.
Because hybrid cars use both gas and electric power to run, they produce fewer emissions than gas-powered cars, but not as few as electric cars. Electric cars have zero emissions and can travel solely on electric power. However, electric vehicles tend to be more costly to purchase upfront compared to both hybrid and fuel-powered cars.
Hybrid cars have a range that is limited by their battery capacity, but they do have the advantage of being able to switch to gas power when the battery runs out of charge. The hybrid system can help to extend the lifespan of the petrol engine by reducing the number of times it needs to be started and stopped, which can save on maintenance costs over time.
Many drivers experience long-term cost savings over traditional fuel-powered cars due to their improved fuel economy and reduced maintenance costs. Significant savings on fuel costs can be made over time, especially for drivers who do a lot of city driving or stop-and-go traffic where the electric motor can power the car at lower speeds.
Moreover, some hybrid cars may also be eligible for government incentives or tax credits, which can further reduce the cost of ownership.
For many drivers, the potential savings on fuel, tax credits, and maintenance costs can make hybrid cars an attractive and cost-effective option.
Drawbacks of hybrid cars
While hybrid cars offer several benefits over traditional fuel-powered vehicles, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.
Higher upfront costs:
Hybrid cars generally cost more upfront than traditional fuel-powered cars, due to the additional cost of the electric motor, battery, and other hybrid-specific components. While hybrid cars can operate on electric power at low speeds, their electric-only range is limited. This means that they still rely on fuel for longer trips or when the battery runs out of charge.
Limited electric-only range:
Hybrid cars use a rechargeable battery to store electric power, and these batteries can be expensive to replace when they reach the end of their lifespan. However, most hybrid batteries are designed to last for many years before needing to be replaced.
Because hybrid cars are more complex than traditional fuel-powered cars and include hybrid-specific control systems, they can make repairs and maintenance more expensive. This is typically down to repairs falling into a more specialist category of qualified mechanics.
Regenerative braking system:
While the regenerative braking system in hybrid cars is designed to extend the car's range and improve fuel efficiency, it can also cause brake pads to wear out more quickly. This can result in higher maintenance costs for brake replacement over time.
While hybrid cars offer improved overall performance compared to fuel-powered cars, they may not be as powerful or responsive as some high-performance fuel-powered vehicles. This may be a concern for drivers who prioritise acceleration and speed.
While hybrid cars offer better fuel economy and reduced emissions compared to fuel-powered cars, they still rely on fossil fuels to some extent. This can be a concern for drivers who are seeking ultimate environmental sustainability in the form of fully electric or alternative fuel vehicles.
Limited charging infrastructure:
While hybrid cars do not rely solely on electric power, they still require charging infrastructure for their batteries. The availability of charging stations can be limited, especially in more rural areas, which may restrict the vehicle’s range.
This all being said, hybrid cars generally have a higher resale value than traditional fuel-powered cars, due to their better fuel economy and lower environmental impact. This can result in additional cost savings when it comes time to sell or trade in the car.
How to choose the right hybrid car
Here's an overview of the most common types of hybrid cars:
A mild hybrid car uses a small electric motor to assist the gas engine, but the electric motor is not powerful enough to power the car on its own. Created to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions, they do not offer the same level of electric-only driving as other types of hybrid cars.
A full hybrid car uses both the fuel engine and electric motor to power the car, and can operate in electric-only mode at low speeds. Designed to offer better fuel economy and reduce emissions, they are typically more expensive than mild hybrids.
A plug-in hybrid car has a larger battery than a full hybrid, and can be charged by plugging it into an external power source. Plug-in hybrids can operate in electric-only mode for longer distances than full hybrids and can offer significant fuel savings for drivers who frequently drive short distances.
Range-extended electric vehicle (REEV):
A range-extended electric vehicle is similar to a plug-in hybrid, but the fuel engine only serves as a generator to charge the battery and does not directly power the car's wheels. REEVs offer the ability to travel long distances using only electric power, with the gas engine serving as a backup power source when the battery runs low.
Fuel cell hybrid:
A fuel cell hybrid car uses hydrogen as a fuel source to generate electricity and power the car's electric motor. Designed to offer zero-emissions driving, they are currently only available in limited markets and can be expensive.
Hybrid cars can vary greatly in price, with some models costing significantly more than their non-hybrid counterparts. It's important to consider your budget when choosing a hybrid car and decide how much you are willing to spend on a vehicle.
Your driving habits can also play a role in your decision - if you frequently drive short distances, a plug-in hybrid or REEV may be a good choice, as you can rely on electric-only driving for most of your trips.
If you have a longer commute or frequently take road trips, a full hybrid or mild hybrid may be a better fit, as these vehicles offer better fuel economy and can travel longer distances using both the gas engine and electric motor.
Researching and test-driving different hybrid models can help you make an informed decision when choosing the right hybrid car for you. Look up different hybrid models online, read reviews from experts and other drivers, and compare features, pricing, and fuel efficiency.
If you're still unsure about which hybrid model to choose, consider a car subscription instead of buying. A flexible car subscription from Drive Fuze allows you to test drive a hybrid car before deciding whether to buy it - giving you more time to evaluate the car's performance and features.
Should you buy a hybrid car?
Choosing a hybrid car certainly means you’ll be playing your part to reduce carbon emissions and look after the environment. Not only that, but you’ll enjoy fuel savings and improved driving performance with a hybrid vehicle.
It’s important to remember the drawbacks of hybrid cars, too. Their limited electric-only range and potentially high maintenance costs could impact your decision.
With Drive Fuze, you can explore a variety of hybrid car options with a car subscription. Testing out a hybrid car for a period of time to suit you and your lifestyle is ideal as a sustainable and flexible transportation option.
You won’t need to consider ongoing expensive hybrid car maintenance, insurance, tyres, taxes, or breakdown cover. In most cases, you can get a hybrid car delivered to your door within seven days!