There's a lot more to a hybrid than you might think, and that's why they are a gem.
Hybrids are a Lot More Than You Think
Most people you talk to might have heard of hybrids, but do they know what it really is? Hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) make up only 4.1% of all vehicles sold in the USA today. People only buy what they know, and if more people knew the benefits of hybrids, more people would buy them.
What Is a Hybrid?
Hybrids run on gas and electricity. However, there are two types of hybrids, conventional and plug-in. A conventional hybrid cannot be charged by an external electric source. It generates energy while braking which charges the batteries. The batteries run an electric motor, which assists the internal combustion engine. Therefore a conventional hybrid is 20-35% more efficient than a traditional gas vehicle.
The second type of hybrid is a plug-in, which also has an electrical socket for charging the batteries. A plug-in runs fully on electricity, but when the batteries get low, it runs like a conventional hybrid. There are at most about 48 miles of full-electric range on a plug-in before turning to gas. An EV has on average 250-300 miles of range but doesn't have any gas.
How Much More Does a Hybrid Cost?
A conventional hybrid is about $2,500 more than a similar gas vehicle at purchase but costs less to maintain. A conventional hybrid is 20-35% more efficient than a gas vehicle, and that means that you fill 20-35% less gas. The average person spends $1,968 on gas in a year. That means you save $393-$689 a year, and therefore, you make all of that $2,500 extra back in 3-6 years!
A plug-in hybrid costs about $3,000-$6,000 more than a gas vehicle, however, you get $2,500-$7,500 back from the US government. It also costs less to maintain. You can drive with only electricity which substantially reduces the cost. The exact price can depend on where you charge your vehicle and what vehicle you have.
What Variety Of Hybrids Are There?
There are many choices when it comes to conventional hybrids, you can get them at any price, any type, anywhere. Keep in mind that most of these cars also have a gas version, so make sure to pick the hybrid model. These are some more affordable conventionals:
- Ford: Fusion; Escape; Explorer
- Honda: Accord; CR-V; Insight
- Hyundai: IONIQ; Sonata
- Kia: Niro
- Nissan: Rogue
- Subaru: Crosstrek
- Toyota: Prius; Corolla; RAV4; Highlander; Venza; Camry; Avalon; Sienna; Mirai
Plug-ins are a little bit harder to find, but they are still pretty common. Keep in mind that most of these cars also have a gas version, so make sure to pick the plug-in (PHEV), model. These are some affordable PHEVs:
- Chrysler: Pacifica
- Ford: Fusion Energi
- Honda: Clarity
- Hyundai: IONIQ; Sonata
- Jeep: Wrangler 4xe
- Kia: Niro
- Mini: Countryman
- Mitsubishi: Outlander
- Subaru: Crosstrek
- Toyota: Prius Prime; RAV4 Prime
- Volkswagon: Golf; Passat
If you don't mind paying a little more, consider these conventionals:
- Acura: RLX; MDX
- Audi: Q5; A7; A8 L
- Jaguar: XE; XF; F-Pace; E-Pace
- Land Rover: Range Rover; Range Rover Sport; Defender
- Lexus: UX; NX; RX; LS; ES; LC
- Maserati: Ghibli
If you don't mind paying a little more, consider these plug-ins:
- BMW: 530e; X3 xDrive 30e; X5 xDrive 45e; 745e; 330e
- Cadillac: CT6
- Jaguar: E-Pace; F-Pace
- Land Rover: Range Rover; Range Rover Sport
- Mercedes: GLC 350e;
- Porsche: Panamera E-Hybrid; Cayenne E-Hybrid
- Volvo: XC60; XC90; S90; S60; V60
If you really have a lot of money, you could buy:
- Acura: NSX
- Aston Martin: Valkyrie
- Bentley: Bentayga
- BMW: i8
- Ferrari: LaFerrari; SF90 Stradale
- Lamborghini: Sián
- Lotus: Evija
- McLaren: P1; Speedtail
- Mercedes: AMG-One
- Koenigsegg: Gemera; Regera
- Porsche: 918 Spyder
How Are Hybrids Doing In The Rest Of The World?
How has the world adopted hybrids? Norway right now has the largest market share of over 80% for hybrids and EVs compared to the rest of the world. That's right, 4 out of 5 cars sold in Norway are either hybrids or EV's. Iceland comes in at second with a 60% market share, and Sweden comes in third at 34%. The US is ranked 18th at 2% for conventional hybrids, and 2.1% for plug-ins.
Why is the US so behind, you might ask? It comes down to two main factors: charging stations and gas prices. Even though the US has over 25,000 charging stations, they haven't taken over gas stations. I remember when I went to Norway, there were more charging stations than gas stations! Gas prices are also a key factor. Gas prices in the US are pretty affordable compared to countries like Norway and Iceland, so a hybrid or EV is even more cost-saving in those countries.
So Why Buy a Hybrid?
You can help save the world with a hybrid because it is cleaner for the environment. It is as practical as a gas car, with even more benefits for a plug-in. Finally, it can save you a lot of money in the long term.
Dan Harmon from Boise, Idaho on November 09, 2020:
I drive a Chevy Volt, a plug in hybrid, and have for the past 4 years. My lifetime gas mileage is 150 MPG, and over the 60,000 miles I've put on I've about saved the extra cost of a plug in hybrid. I am extremely pleased with the car and have had zero problems with it. As you point out, the maintenance and repair costs are pretty low - the sum total of maintenance has been 3 oil changes (you don't change the oil much if the engine doesn't every run) and the total repairs have been to replace the outlet where the cord plugs in, under warranty.
But there are a couple of negatives, too. First, that $5,000 or so you get back from the government is ONLY available to those that have a yearly tax bill of at least that amount. Poorer people, such as retirees, that can use the savings the most are relegated to subsidizing the more wealthy that can afford the car without a rebate.
Second, the Volt is the only plug in hybrid with a truly usable range (around 50 miles) of battery operation, and it has been discontinued. All of the others offer only a handful of miles, meaning that nearly anywhere you go you will be using gas. This defeats the purpose of the plug in option as far as I'm concerned.