There’s clear proof that hybrids provide energy-efficient transportation, lower emissions, reduce noise, and reduce running costs too. But it’s important to understand them before you drive one home.
Hybrids provide a great balance by blending the power of an electric motor with a gasoline engine. Electric motors are up to three times more efficient than gas engines, which means they use one-third of the energy to do the same amount of work.
But gasoline contains more energy per volume and does so in a cheaper manner. By combining both, hybrids give you the efficiency of electricity and the practicality of a gas engine in one vehicle. Hybrids also reduce running costs by lowering the amount of fuel you need.
Mild hybrids are the most basic form of automotive hybrid technology. These are vehicles with a high-voltage battery that allows minimal low-speed mobility and powers the start-stop system. Full battery-electric hybrids have a traditional gas-powered engine that gets an additional boost from a rechargeable battery and an electric motor.
Then you have plug-in hybrids that use both a gasoline engine and an electric motor. But they have a large battery pack that needs to be plugged into an external power source for charging. You could, possibly, never use the gas engine in a plug-in hybrid if your commute is within the electric range. The BMW i3, for example, can travel 126 miles on its battery before the tiny gas engine has to power the electric drivetrain. Most others have a range of up to 55 miles.
Hybrids tend to be more expensive to buy than conventional cars. They usually cost between $2,000 and $3,000 more than equivalent conventional cars, but they more than make up the difference in price with the amount of fuel they save.
If you’re willing to spend between $20,000 and $30,000, there are many hybrids you can choose from. There’s the popular Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, Hyundai Ioniq, Kia Niro, and even hybrid SUVs like Honda CR-V hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. If you’re looking for a family sedan, then you can choose from hybrid versions of the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry, and Toyota Corolla.