Pros and cons of buying a hybrid car

Pros and cons of buying a hybrid car

Hybrid cars got their name because they use two engine technologies- a standard gasoline powerplant and an electric motor which gets its power from a rechargeable battery pack. It was developed as an environmentally friendly vehicle that releases low carbon emissions and has improved gas mileage. But even so, there are pros and cons of owning a hybrid car.

Even though hybrid cars have been dubbed the “future of the automotive industry", here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of owning a hybrid car:

Advantages of buying a hybrid car

More fuel efficient

Fuel economy gauge ©

Hybrid cars are some of the most fuel efficient cars today, with most topping the best fuel efficiency ratings in their segment. The hybrid Toyota Camry 2.5-Liter, for example, has an estimated mileage of 18.3 km/L as compared to a regular model with the same powertrain which is rated at 11.8 km/L; both tested in highway conditions. That would easily make the hybrid model 35.5-percent more fuel efficient.

Lower carbon emissions

Green Hybrid car ©

Vehicle emissions account for over half (51%) of carbon dioxide produced worldwide. A great advantage of a hybrid car is its lower carbon footprint. According to the US Department of Energy, a typical hybrid car releases 57 lbs of CO2 over a 100 mile trip compared to 87 lbs of CO2 when covering the same distance. This impressive reduction is mainly because of how efficient these cars use their fuel.

Quieter engine

Measure cabin noise ©

If you want a quieter cabin, then a hybrid is the way to go. A New York Times review pointed out that these battery-powered motors sound something between a “whir and a whisper.” Hybrids can be too quiet, especially at low speeds, and can therefore pose risks to pedestrians who are crossing the road. A study by the NHTSA confirmed this, saying that these cars are too quiet for blind people to hear them coming.

Less maintenance cost

How to maintain your car ©

While the initial reaction to hybrid cars was that they would have more expensive repair costs (such as maintenance of the battery), this was proven incorrect. Battery packs from Toyota were tested to last more than 180,000 miles. The cost of these nickel-metal hydride batteries are also dropping. For example, battery packs for 2005-2011 Honda Civic hybrids averaged $1,700, as compared to $2,200 for 2009 models, according to a report from Edmunds. Regular maintenance costs for specific components are almost equal to a conventional car.

High resale value

Toyota Prius 2009 Carmudi PH

Because hybrids are less susceptible to damage over time, they are also likely to have a higher resale value. A 2009 Toyota Prius 1.8-Liter 6-Speed Automatic is priced at P930,000 in one of Carmudi’s listings. Compare this to the price of the base model of the Toyota Prius-C with standard equipment which is pegged at P1,537,000. This equates to a 60.5-percent value retention for the Prius over a span of 6-years (provided the same equipment was installed for both year builds).

Disadvantages of buying a hybrid car

More expensive

Hybrid Honda car ©

Because its engine is constructed differently from other production car models, you can easily predict that buying a hybrid car will be more expensive. In the US, a hybrid Honda Civic with a 1.5-Liter engine has a MSRP of $27,335, compared to the top-of-the-line Honda Civic EX-L whose price starts at $24,340.

Hard to recharge outside cities

Vehicle power station ©

In the Philippines, hybrid cars have yet to significantly penetrate the market. This is partly due to a lack of technological facilities, especially recharging stations. The first commercial hybrid charging station in the country was just launched in 2013 by Meralco and is ready to serve only those who are in Metro Manila. Recharging your hybrid car outside the Metro may prove difficult. This means no long drives.

Examples of hybrid cars in the Philippines

The following are some of the best examples of hybrid cars, their specifications and performance.

Toyota Prius C

Toyota Prius ©

This fully hybrid subcompact hatchback has been around since 2011, and is the third bestselling nameplate in the world. It has been accepted quite well in markets such as California. It runs on 1.5-Liter 16-valve 2NZ-FXE engine with electric assist motor that shoots up a combined 99 horsepower (73 hp gasoline engine, 60 hp electric motor) and 111Nm of torque (gas) or 170 Nm of torque (electric). It was rated to have a fuel economy of 24 km/L and comes with a P1.537 million price tag for its base model.

Honda CR-Z

Red Honda CR-V ©

A sports compact with hybrid technology can easily go places. This road runner uses a 1.5-Liter i-VTEC engine with an integrated motor assist (IMA) hybrid system and lithium ion battery which pumps 134 horsepower and 190 Nm of torque (for the manual variant). Impressively, it can accelerate from 0-100 kph in more than 6 seconds and has a top speed of 209 kph. Its fuel economy stands at roughly 25 km/L, which is way ahead of its segment. At P1,390,000 for its standard base model, it is surely a steal.

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