Conventional fossil fuel-powered cars are slowly becoming a thing of the past. It shouldn’t be surprising, as these gas-guzzling machines are having a huge impact on the environment.
That’s why car manufacturers are assigning more resources for the development of engines which leave little to no carbon footprint. As a result of these efforts, the hybrid and electric car types were born. If you are looking to reduce your impact on the atmosphere, then consider the differences between the two before making your choice.
Although fully electric vehicles and hybrids have a lot of advantages over traditional vehicles, they still have their disadvantages. Here we list the top four pros and cons of each, to help you decide which one to choose.
Achieve Zero Carbon Emissions with Pure Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles (EV) that run on our roads today are either pure electric running on batteries, or fuel cells powered by hydrogen. However, pure electric vehicles are the most popular ones as the latter are still under development, and yet to be properly commercialised. Fuel cells were first used in rockets before being considered for other uses.
Advantages of Pure Electric Vehicles
- They run only on electricity with no fuel cells for backup. This improves their efficiency compared to its counterpart and has zero carbon footprint.
- Gas is expensive, and costs will only rise as we run out of fossil fuels. A pure electric car like the Tesla Model S can help save you some money as charging an electric vehicle isn’t as costly as refilling a gas-powered one.
- As they don’t need oil changes, you save on the routine maintenance as well. Overall, an electric vehicle should be serviced once every few months at a much cheaper cost than a traditional car.
- A fully electric vehicle can get you rebates from the government.
Disadvantages of Pure Electric Vehicles
- Pure electric vehicles have a very high initial cost. You will save on gas in the long run, but the initial investment will burn a hole in your pocket.
- Although electric vehicles have been in the market for some time now, there aren’t many charging points. So if you are thinking of taking a long road trip in one, you will be disappointed as the car won’t travel very far before needing a re-charge.
- The time taken by an average electric vehicle to fully charge itself can be as long as twelve hours. So it might not be a good idea to use it as your regular car as it may have enough charge to go very far.
- With one big battery, electric drive motor, and tons of complex software, the electric car is one heavy piece of machinery which still has an uncertain impact on the environment regarding end-of-life disposal of the battery.
Although electric vehicles don’t score high on the mileage scale, you can choose the Tesla Model S as it can travel nearly 240 km between charges. Other models like the Nissan Leaf or the Chevrolet Bolt EV, can barely travel half that distance before requiring a charge.
Get the Best of Both Worlds through a Hybrid Car
As the name suggests, a hybrid vehicle is that which employs both electricity and gas to power itself. The 21st century has been seeing a lot of interest in this type of car which houses multiple engines. One is powered by an electric motor while the other is a gas-powered conventional design. The former kicks in when the vehicle is moving at low speeds and the gas-powered engine is employed while accelerating. Although hybrid vehicles have become quite popular today, they haven’t been able to topple their traditional counterparts largely due to the complexity of driving one.
Advantages of a Hybrid Car
- The biggest advantage of these vehicles over the EV is the charging mechanism. Connected directly to the brake system, it recharges itself a little bit every time you brake, which is a huge relief when you have long commutes.
- Due to the usage of lighter materials like aluminium in its make, it needs less energy to operate than an EV.
- Many local governments are giving out incentives and credits to push people towards adopting a hybrid vehicle.
- Hybrid vehicles are perfect for reducing fuel consumption as they run cleaner than the conventional car. When both of its engines work in tandem, they make the perfect environment-friendly alternative.
Disadvantages of a Hybrid Vehicle
- The batteries employed in a hybrid vehicle are laden with a higher voltage than an EV. During an accident, there is a risk of the passengers being electrocuted which complicate rescue.
- Two engines, and a technology that is continuously developing makes maintaining a hybrid car very expensive. You will be hard-pressed to find a mechanic with the necessary expertise as a hybrid car is still fairly new.
- Although it saves you money in the long run, a good hybrid car will easily cost you thousands of dollars, and sometimes are more expensive than an EV.
- Fuel performance takes a dive as these aren’t designed for racing. So if you are expecting to accelerate quickly as in an EV, you will be disappointed.
So what should you choose?
If you like impromptu trips or have long commutes, then a hybrid vehicle is the best bet. Falling on a good middle ground between conventional gas guzzlers and an EV, the hybrid vehicle gives you flexibility via the gas tank.
Other costs, such as car insurance, registration and warrants, do not change between hybrids and pure EVs.
Until there is a robust charging infrastructure in place, a hybrid vehicle is the best option for now if you want to reduce your carbon footprint on the roads.