Jack Dreyer | Thursday 20th January 2022 1:59pm
Hybrid cars do what they say on the can and use two methods of propulsion, with a petrol or diesel engine fitted alongside an electric motor.
They’re popular mainly because they provide a midway point between sustainable, fully electric vehicles, and the CO2-emitting fuel-powered cars, making them ideal for those that want to do their bit for the environment but can’t commit to fully electric.
Hybrid cars are all the rage, and you can snag them for a pretty penny – specifically, for upwards of £20,000. The more expensive models can cost you up to £100,000.
You might be wondering, then, are hybrid cars worth it? Let’s start by looking at how they function.
How do hybrid cars work?
- Parallel hybrid cars. The wheels of these vehicles can be powered by combustion engine alone, by electric motor alone, or by using both in parallel.
- Plug-in hybrid cars. These can be charged at electric outlets or while on the move. They still have a traditional engine alongside the electric motor, but have a bigger battery so that they can travel further on electric power.
- Range extender hybrid cars. Using the conventional engine to charge the electric battery, the vehicle’s electric motor drives the car forward.
So all hybrid cars use some form of electric power, ensuring the driver can switch to ‘eco’ when they please but can also fill up at your standard petrol station should they need to. That’s an obvious benefit – what else?
The benefits of hybrid cars
Being a relatively recent invention, these new cars have lots of sparkly gadgets and advantages. For example, most hybrid cars come with different power mode options including ‘eco’ and ‘power’, so that you can choose what to prioritise based on the current driving conditions.
As well as this, hybrid vehicles have a regenerative braking system that helps to recharge your battery each time you brake.
With a hybrid car, you won’t struggle to climb hills, accelerate, or pass another car, as the electric motor can assist the combustion engine to do so.
Although the price tag might be steep for some, they save you money in the long run.
Less dependence on fossil fuel puts you ahead of the game too, ultimately saving you time at the petrol station and ensuring you don’t have to fork out when use of fossil fuels is inevitably discouraged (via price hikes and, eventually, unavailability). It’s for this same reason that hybrids command higher-than-average resale values – green isn’t going out of fashion any time soon, it seems.
These cars are also built to be lightweight, which means they require less energy to run.
Unfortunately, though, they are no longer exempt from congestion charges - which was once a draw for many living in and around London.
Peace of mind
Probably best of all, hybrid cars can offer peace of mind that you are doing your bit to reduce your carbon footprint.
While they still do use combustion engines, the ability to use electric power offers you a balance of flexibility and eco-friendly driving on demand.
Is a hybrid car worth it?
If you want the flexibility that a combustion engine AND electric motor offers, then yes - to put it simply.
The reality is that reliability and performance will vary between makes and models and how they suit you is down to, well, you! Consider what you can afford and always shop around, speaking to people that own hybrid cars and fully-electric so you get a balanced view.
If you find yourself doing regular, short drives, then there theoretically isn’t a huge amount stopping you from going for a full plug-in electric vehicle. But if you need to do longer journeys and like the thought of being able to switch between combustion and electric, then a hybrid is for you.
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