If you are looking for a new car with a focus on fuel-efficient technology, then you probably will need to choose between two main types of cars: a hybrid and an electric vehicle (EV).
Which one is the best green option for you and fits your lifestyle? While each has its advantages and its drawbacks.
How to choose between hybrids and EVs?
Here is what you need to know for making the most practical and eco-friendly choice!
Hybrids vs. EVs: What’s the Difference?
Two main types of vehicles are popular on the market today: hybrids (or plug-in hybrids) and electric vehicles. Before we cover the benefits and drawbacks of hybrids and EVs, it’s important to understand the difference between the two types.
A hybrid is 100% gasoline-fueled but doesn’t rely solely on its gasoline engine for propulsion. Hybrids have electric motors that can work together with the gasoline engines to power the car in order to save fuel. The electric motor of a hybrid works as a generator when you press the brake, to regenerate energy and store it in the battery for immediate use the next time you accelerate from rest. Examples include the Ford’s Escape Hybrid, the Honda Accord Hybrid, and the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
While a plug-in hybrid car can be plugged in, it’s a gasoline-powered hybrid with a much larger battery and a means to recharge by using an external power source. Plug-in hybrids use two different powertrains that both can drive the wheels. The gasoline engine of a plug-in hybrid is essentially dormant while its battery has a charge. When the electric motor is depleted, it will switch to the engine to allow the vehicle to continue uninterrupted as a regular gasoline hybrid. A plug-in hybrid car can also use regenerative braking to save fuel. Popular examples include the Toyota Prius, the Cadillac ELR, and the Chevrolet Volt.
An electric vehicle (EV), on the other hand, has an electric motor that is powerful enough to deliver adequate range and performance without using any gasoline. Since EV uses electric power alone, there’s no engine as backup when the batteries run down. However, an EV has enough room for batteries as they don’t have a gasoline engine. So they can offer a longer electric-only range than plug-in hybrids. Popular examples include the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Nissan Leaf, and the Tesla Model S, among others.
How to choose: EVs or hybrids?
Electric vehicles offer several advantages over hybrids, the main attraction is that EVs are the most environmentally friendly cars. Since EVs are powered only by an electric motor and a battery, so they don’t use fuel at all. EVs that fully run on electricity have zero tailpipe emissions.
Additionally, EVs are the most economical compared to hybrids or gasoline vehicles. EVs offer a longer electric-only range than plug-in hybrids without using any fuel. You can charge your EV at public charging stations or at home, that’s $1000 to $2000 saving on fuel per year if you travel as most of the Canadian drivers at the average range of 20,000 km per year. Maintenance costs for EV could be another saving, since EVs have far fewer moving parts and don’t need oil changes
Since an EV can travel only as far as its batteries allow, the largest drawback to EVs is the range. While hybrids have a gasoline engine as backup, EVs purely run on electricity have limits on long-distance driving.
In addition, you will need to install a charging station at home; otherwise, you’re dependent on public charging stations.
If you only drive short to medium distances than less than 100km at a time, and prefer not to spend a lot on car maintenance, EVs can fit your profile. It’s also the best green option if you are looking to minimize your carbon footprint as much as possible.
Plug-in Hybrid Cars
The most common hybrids have a gas engine and one or two electric motors. The electric motor powers the car until the battery runs down, at which point the gas engine kicks in.
Plug-in hybrids operate on the same principle while it has a larger battery that can be charged at home or public charging station. A plug-in hybrid is the most energy-efficient while it can travel at the traditional car range for longer trips.
The primary advantage of hybrids, as opposed to EVs, is the range. While EVs are limited to ranges their batteries allow, hybrids use gasoline engines in addition to their electric powertrains. Hybrid vehicles only require half the amount of gas that gasoline cars use, while plug-in hybrids use only a quarter of that amount.
When it comes to disadvantages, the biggest drawback is that shoppers have fewer models to choose from in this category. Since most automakers tend to offer fully electric vehicles, because consumers interested in EVs tend to go green with fully electric, using no fuel and minimize their carbon footprint as much as possible. Therefore, plug-in hybrids are limited to only a few models (the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius Plug-In are the most popular) compared to a larger offering for EVs.
On the other hand, hybrids lose their environmental edge if the gas engine kicks in too often. If you tend to race on the road, your car will be using the gas engine more often, and reducing the cost-savings and environmental benefits of a hybrid.
The oil trunks are also smaller in hybrids compared to regular vehicles, since the electric motors take up a lot of space.
A hybrid may fit your lifestyle if you want the flexibility to be able to take long road trips. It’s also a good option if you don’t have a charging station at home or nearby.
There really isn’t any wrong choice between an EV or a plug-in hybrid. If you prefer to buy the one with a fuel-efficient focus and government rebates, both plug-in hybrids and EVs will serve your purpose! In other words, you won’t go wrong when choosing an EV or a plug-in hybrid. You will just make your choice on the one that perfectly matches your lifestyle!
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