Hybrid cars are powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Their popularity grew in the United States when the second generation of the Toyota Prius was introduced, and by October 2012 there were over 2.5 million hybrids in the country. Car reviews often speak of hybrids, and motoring has consequently become plain jazzy.
Hybrids cost more initially
Hybrids cost more to purchase than regular cars, which is known as the hybrid premium. The price differential arises because the drive train connecting the transmission to the axles is more elaborate and the battery is sizable and high quality. Improved technology will make drive trains less costly, but this is likely to take over 20 years.
Warranties cover hybrids’ batteries for eight years or 100,000 miles. Should a battery cease to work after this period, replacement will cost around USD1,556/GBP1,000/EUR1,400 – a quarter what it used to be.
… but they use less petrol
The price of petrol is pre-eminent in the minds of most people, so you might wish to take a look at car reviews if you’d like to save money in this respect. Hybrids use less petrol, and so are well-suited to drivers who cover great distances. Different models use different amounts of petrol, making it prudent to check the ratings that are widely available, for instance from the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Australian government. Hybrids produce up to 90 percent less carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide, and so are better for the environment.
… and the brake pads last longer
The regenerative braking of hybrids produces less heat, allowing brake pads to last longer. A spokesman for Toyota said that some customers had used the brake pads of their Priuses for over 85,000 miles. Because the petrol engine switches off when a hybrid travels at a low speed or is idling, the engine is subjected to less wear-and-tear. Smaller hybrids require less frequent oil changes.
… and you’re less likely to collide with things
Research conducted by insurance companies revealed that hybrid drivers have less chance of being involved in accidents. Certain insurers have lower premiums as a result but, perversely, there are those that charge more. Hybrid owners would be well-advised to shy away from this latter category of insurer.
Parking for hybrids can be free. They were once exempt from London’s Congestion Charge, but this ended because sales soared and pollution and traffic worsened.
While purchasing a hybrid costs more than purchasing a regular car, a recent study by the US automotive research company, Vincentric, showed that almost half are cost-effective in the long term. The study said that a hybrid cost more than USD5,290/GBP3,400/EUR4,761 then a petrol-powered car, but saved USD3,703/GBP2,380/EUR3,333 on petrol. 11 of the 25 hybrids examined cost less on the whole because of depreciation, finance, insurance, maintenance and repairs.
Timothy Chilman used to work in IT. Once, in Sydney, he was turned down for a job because he was “too flamboyant” (“Someone who wears green tartan suspenders to a job interview probably isn’t going to fit in here”). Timothy then became an English teacher. University students in Bangkok complained that he was “too enthusiastic” and company students in Prague complained that he was “too theatrical.”