The Pros & Cons of Hybrid Cars

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We all know that the future of motoring definitely does not lie with fossil fuels. Electric vehicles are taking the world by storm in countries where electricity is not a problem (Cough: Not-South-Africa).

But having an all-electric car in South Africa at the moment is pretty much the same as having an electric toothbrush when you're staring a three-day blackout in the face.

And yes, people who can afford an all-electric car can probably afford to live off the grid, but that is a lot of battery power! Which brings us to hybrid cars, which are growing in popularity. But everything has its pros and cons. Even electric toothbrushes.

How does hybrid vehicles work?

A hybrid vehicle combines at least one electric motor with a gasoline engine. Its system recaptures energy from regenerative braking. Sometimes the electric motor does all the work, sometimes it's the gas engine, and sometimes they work together. The result is less gasoline burned and, thus, better fuel economy. Adding electric power can even boost performance in certain instances.

There are three different hybrid vehicles; parallel hybrid where an electric motor and gasoline engine are connected in a common transmission that blends the two power sources together. Second, Series Hybrid where the electric motor(s) provides all the thrust, and there is never a physical, mechanical connection between the engine and the wheels. The gasoline engine is just there to recharge the battery. And finally, the Plug-In Hybrid, which enhances the conventional hybrid concept with a much larger battery pack that, like an electric cars, must be fully recharged using an external electricity source. This greater amount of energy storage is like a larger gas tank. Should you deplete the all-electric range, the car basically reverts to being a conventional parallel hybrid. 

How Does Hybrids Work

How a Hybrid Car Works

Pros of a Hybrid Vehicle

Hybrid vehicles are not limited in range, because even if the battery is completely depleted, the internal combustion engine can still power the vehicle. In addition, the charging system ensures that the electric system is never completely depleted, charging batteries via regenerative braking or the internal combustion engine when necessary.

It's also a much more sustainable vehicle, and looking out for mother nature is something that we should try to do every day in our everyday routines.

Part of the green approach is not only the reduction in fossil-fuel usage and carbon emissions, but in noise pollution as well.  Doing away with the loud and noisy engines creates a more peaceful environment, which benefits everyone.

Cons to a Hybrid Vehicle

The hybrid models available in South Africa are rather pricey items. While there are more cost effective series hybrid models offered, most of the extra-effective hybrids and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) are closer to R1000 000. 

Charging: Yes, don't get us even started. Because of a certain Government Owned Entity, charging your phone can sometimes even be hard. Luckily, this only applies to PHEV category of Hybrids, which have to be stationary when charging. It can take up to four to eight hours. 

But, yes, it is pricey. We would all probably be trying out a Toyota Prius if we could afford it, but hey everything have it's good, bad, and ugly sides. 

Visit the ClickaCar showroom for Hybrid and non-Hybrid options and find your dream car today!

Sources: Car&Driver; TopAuto