Image via Flickr user Kevin Dooley
When hybrid cars first came to our shores in 2001, they were an odd curiosity. In the intervening years, most Americans seem to have made up their mind regarding this new type of vehicle. Hybrid owners love their cars while drivers of traditional vehicles have reached their own conclusions, based largely on some erroneous assumptions.
Here are nine reasons why a hybrid car is better than you think it is.
1. Hybrids Are Not Slow
Many people conclude that the additional gas mileage offered by hybrids are not worth the cost of driving the slowest car on the road. In fact, hybrids are faster than you might think for an obvious reason – hybrid cars have multiple engines. In addition to the conventional gasoline engine, hybrids contain 1-3 electric motors that provide a little more horsepower and a lot more torque. Some models, like the Prius, use a smaller gasoline engine than similarly sized cars, but other hybrids simply add an electric motor to the standard engine which results in a faster combination than the non-hybrid version.
2. Hybrid Efficiency Is Not Just About The Car, It Is Also About The Driver
It is possible to drive a hybrid just like any other car, but your fuel economy will suffer. Hybrids want to be driven in a different manner in order to take advantage of all of the inherent efficiencies of their drive-trains. To help drivers get the most miles per gallon, most hybrids include some sort of feedback system that lets drivers know how the car is operating. For example, drivers learn when their car is in electric only mode, when the gas engine is running, and when they are generating energy from braking.
3. Hybrids Require Less Maintenance
When your engine is only running half of the time, your car will require fewer oil changes. Additionally, since a hybrid uses generators to decelerate while charging its battery, it will use its friction brakes far less often. The result is a car that will drive more miles before needing brake service.
4. Hybrid Batteries Will Outlast The Car
The most common concern that most drivers have with the concept of a hybrid is that they have an expensive battery that will need to be replaced. It is true that a hybrid’s batteries make up a substantial portion of the additional cost, but concerns that the battery will be unreliable are unfounded. In fact, Consumer Reports tested a 10 year old Prius and compared its performance to the same model when it was tested as new. They concluded that the 10 year old car with 200,000 miles performed identically to when it was tested as new. Furthermore, cities that have used hybrids as taxis found that their batteries were also working fine when the vehicles were retired as planned after 250,000 miles.
by Jason Steele
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