Owning a hybrid, officially dubbed a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), can be an exciting prospect, but one must keep in mind the pros and cons that come with such a purchase.
There are three main types of electric vehicles (EVs) available on the market. These include Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV), and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)
Hybrids are often the entry point for most early adopters
Powered by both an electric engine and a gasoline engine, they offer the best of both worlds
We recently discussed the three main types of electric vehicles (EVs) available on the market. These include Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV), and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). You can find the full breakdown here.
Today, we will be exploring the pros and cons you'll need to consider before buying a hybrid vehicle, or HEV.
So, what is a hybrid car?
Perhaps the type of EVs that most people were first introduced to thanks to the Toyota Prius, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) combine both a gas-powered motor and one or more electric motors that are charged by regenerative braking - not by being plugged in. It can also use its gasoline engine to charge its battery.
Hybrids are initially powered by their electric motor(s) at lower speeds, and only shift to the fuel-powered engine intermittently when needed, mostly at mid to high speeds.
More often than not, hybrids prove to be a great entry point for people unfamiliar with EVs, as it skirts the boundaries between a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle and a fully-fledged EV. As per this reasoning, they don't have to worry about their batteries running dry since the gasoline engine will always be there for backup, though realistically this isn't too big of a concern for most users of fully-electric vehicles, as much as it would be for regular ICE automobiles.
Perhaps the greatest draw of hybrids is the decreased carbon footprint they offer their owners. Though they are still partially powered by petrol, they emit between 23 and 30 percent less greenhouse gas than a regular vehicle on average, according to 2019 data by emissions data specialist Emissions Analytics. Other data has found this percentage to be higher.
Cost savings are another plus. While you'll often have to shell out a few thousand dollars for a hybrid version of a traditional gasoline model, the cost savings in the long run often warrant the bigger price tag. This doubly applies to the average commuter that spends the majority of their journeys stuck in slow-speed traffic, where the electric engine would usually be doing all the work and saving on fuel. Additionally, some governments in the world, and even in the Middle East, are offering financial incentives to encourage people to buy EVs.
Increased mileage is another advantage to consider. Again, for the average city dweller often stuck in stop and go traffic, regenerative braking and low speeds means your electric engine will be doing most of the hard work, netting you an increased range above your usual mileage.
With a hybrid's electric engine often taking the stress off of its gasoline counterpart, customers can often expect reduced routine maintenance costs towards their ICE. Those worried that this would lead to higher repair costs for the electric engine should know that they come with significantly less moving parts, making them less prone to breakdowns and wear and tear.
When looking at the short-term, there's no escaping the higher retail price you have to pay for an HEV over its ICE counterpart. Electric vehicles are a long-term investment, as a Service Manager at Chinese EV leader BYD told us last year. If you are a person that often buys and sells vehicles, an HEV might not be for you.
Even if hybrids produce less emissions, they still involve an internal combustion engine, as opposed to plug-in fully electric vehicles. That means that CO2 emissions will still be a problem.
A common problem across all three types of EVs is that their batteries can cost a decent sum if they need repairs or replacement. While their price has dropped significantly over the past decade, they can cost a pretty penny should something go wrong. Fortunately, most manufacturers offer extended warranties with purchases of hybrids, often up to 8 years, so you can rest easy.
Given that hybrids and EVs in general are still relatively new in the Middle East, it can be difficult to find third-party mechanics with the know-how to repair said vehicles. This means that owners will often have to opt for repairs at the dealership, which is often more expensive.
Mark Anthony Karam
Mark Anthony Karam was an Editor at AMEinfo between 2018-2021.
You can get in touch with him on LinkedIn here: linkedin.com/in/m-a-karam/