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 gasoline cars and other types of vehicles.
Summary – Pros & Cons Of Hybrid Cars
- There’s several types of hybrids available – plug in, and non plug in
- 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
- Standard hybrids are quick to re-fuel
- There’s many gas stations available for pure hybrids
- There’s quick charge technology available
- There can be tax benefits for hybrids
- Have better range than electric cars
- Better for the environment
- Re-sale value of a hybrid is generally OK
- Can keep the motor warmer longer
- Expensive upfront costs
- Plug in hybrids are slow to charge
- Number of quick re-charge stations are limited
- Still produce pollution and greenhouse gases
- Rely on finite fossil fuels
- 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
- 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
*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
You can read a guide about the different types of hybrid vehicles here
What you’ll see is that there are two main types of hybrids:
- Standard Hybrids – run off of conventional gasoline, and supplement that with some electric energy captured from the heat when you brake
- Plug In Hybrids – may run off of primarily conventional gasoline or electricity. Can capture electric energy from the brakes, but can also be plugged into an external electrical point to charge the battery as well
Pros Of Hybrid Cars
- Several Types Of Hybrids Available – plug in, and non plug in
- Can Be Cheaper To Run & More Fuel Efficient – compared to conventional gasoline only cars which aren’t as fuel efficient or have as good fuel economy. Electricity in particular with plug ins tends to be cheaper per mile than gasoline. Hybrids make use of a dual petrol and electric motor set up
- Technology Is Progressing Steadily & Improving – hybrid technology is having more money and investment put into it’s development over time. This improves range of driving, efficiency, durability, prices, availability, range of models and more.
- Reporting System Is Intuitive – some hybrids have an easy to read reporting system for things like fuel efficiency in the dash. This makes is easy for new owners to see how their car is performing.
- Prices Are Getting More Competitive – as technology and development progresses, prices will come down over time.
- Easy To Re-Fuel – the pure hybrid models are easy re-fuel. The plug in models are easy to charge at home
- Standard Hybrids Are Quick To Re-Fuel – the pure hybrids are quick to refuel at a gas station
- There’s Many Gas Stations Available For Pure Hybrids – so, they are easily accessible compared if there were less stations
- There’s Quick Charge Technology Available – via direct current quick chargers. These chargers can add about 50 miles to the range of any electric vehicle in under 30 minutes.
- There Can Be Tax Benefits For Hybrids – via concessions and tax credits of between $2500 to $7500. Check your area’s tax guidelines though and check with a tax professional about this.
- Have Better Range Than All Electric Cars – compared to electric battery cars, hybrid cars can drive a longer range using gasoline and the internal combustion engine
- Better For The Environment – compared to petrol or diesel only cars, and mainly due to the increased fuel efficiency. But, they still do produce pollution and greenhouse gases. A hybrid cuts emissions by 25% to 35% over even the most fuel efficient gas powered models.
- Re-Sale Value Of A Hybrid Is Generally OK – as technology progresses, some outdated models can have poor re-sale value, but some keep their value well in the market right now
- Can Keep The Motor Warmer Longer – some hybrids keep the motor warmer longer once you stop the car than a conventional petrol car where the motor can go cold within a few hours. This can lead to there being less wear and tear on the motor long term
Cons Of Hybrid Cars
- Expensive Upfront Costs – hybrids tend to be more expensive than conventional cars
- Plug In Hybrids Are Slow To Charge – the electricity in a plug in hybrid takes hours to re-charge compared to gasoline which takes minutes
- Number Of Quick Re-Charge Stations Are Limited – quick recharge stations for plug in hybrids is limited at this point
- Still Emits Pollution & Greenhouse Gases – any car using gasoline or conventional fuel in addition to electricity still emits pollution and greenhouse gases.
- Rely On Finite Fossil Fuels – any car using gasoline or conventional fuel still relies on a finite supply of fossil fuel like oil
- Number Of Hybrid Models Available Are Limited – don’t have as wide of a selection of models and brands as conventional cars
- Different Cars Can Take Different Charging Plugs – Every plug in hybrid vehicle comes with a charging mechanism to allow its owner to refill its “tank” when the battery is running low. There can sometimes be issues with matching a plug to an outlet.
- Can Be Less Fuel Efficient On Highways – compared to some conventional cars. This is because there is no breaking, starting and stopping – which is where hybrids can excel. It does depend on the hybrid model itself though
- Hybrids Are Made More For Efficiency, Not Performance – compared to say sport model petrol cars, you generally get far less performance features and power output. They are more a inner city and urban car at this stage 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. Check what technology your hybrid has before buying.
- Battery Replacements & Electric Based Repairs & Maintenance Can Be Costly – compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle. You may also have to send the car to the dealer for this as a regular mechanic may not be able to, or be licensed to fix these issues.
- You May Have To Get An Emissions Test On The Car – some hybrids aren’t as eco friendly with emissions as they might claim. Getting an independent emissions test done on this can help.
- A Country Or State’s Energy Mix Can Be A Variable In Emissions – for plug in hybrids specifically. If coal is the main energy source used to generate electricity, then the car won’t be as eco friendly
- Hybrids Won’t Solve Some Existing Road Problems – unlikely to solve urban mobility and infrastructure-related problems such as traffic congestion. Redesigning cities, encouraging biking, and encouraging more walking may be required to solve urban and CBD mobility and infrastructure and road issues.
Potential Future Of Hybrid Cars
- Hybrid technology is certainly developing as more hybrid cars are bought and companies invest in them more heavily
- Right now, hybrids are more for efficient inner city and urban driving than long range and sports performance based driving
- In general, hybrids might provide a more fuel efficient and more eco friendly option to petrol or diesel only cars – they produce less pollution and greenhouse gases overall usually
- Electric vehicles (with only batteries and electric motors) and possibly hydrogen fuel cell vehicles might present more of a long term answer in terms of clean vehicles
- Hybrids could be good vehicle to help transition to those vehicle types (until EV technology advances, and until energy mixes become more clean worldwide)