Since 1885, ICE cars have dominated the market. However, in 1997 the Toyota Prius was born, and the world was graced with yet another type of car, a hybrid. Almost 10 years later, Tesla introduced the striking Model S which started the current EV trend.
Today in 2021, we have many different EVs and hybrids on the market, but to chose one over another we need to dive deeper into what makes an EV and what makes a hybrid so desirable. Even though these two seem fairly different, they are not a world apart from each other.
Electric vehicles or EVs are developed around an electric engine that is powered by high-voltage batteries ranging from 30-ish kWh all the way up to 120 kWh. They don’t emit any harmful emissions nor sound, but owning one in 2021 is still questionable for most.
On the other side, hybrids are the stepping stone between ICE cars and EVs because they offer an electric engine and a traditional combustion engine. Currently, it’s way more convenient to live with a hybrid car on a daily basis, but saying that one is better than the other requires further investigation.
The essential aspects of hybrid cars
In order to call a car a hybrid, it needs to have multiple means of propulsion, which in this case is either a gasoline or a diesel engine mated with an electric engine. The whole idea behind hybrid cars is to come up with a system that enables both of the engines to work at their optimum at any required moment.
As such, the combustion engine works best on highway speeds for extended periods, but it lacks when it comes to torque and slow stop-and-go urban traffic. On the other hand, the electric engine uses regenerative braking to slow the car down while charging up the battery which works best at slow traffic.
This means that the electric engine is not designed for highway cruising which entails little to no braking. The whole point of a hybrid car is to cleverly transition between these two engines in order to achieve superior fuel efficiency.
Currently, there are three main types of hybrid vehicles called ‘’full hybrids’’, ‘’mild hybrids’’ and ‘’Plug-in hybrids’’ Full hybrids are sometimes known as self-charging hybrids, but they don’t offer all that much range. On the other hand, a plug-in hybrid can be plugged in, and it is the most common type of hybrid.
The essential aspects of electric vehicles
As previously stated, mainstream electric vehicles began in 2008 with the Model S even though the concept was first introduced almost 200 years before that. With Tesla singlehandedly causing a revolution in transport technology, many other traditional car manufacturers were soon to follow.
An electric car is built around one or multiple electric motors which are using electric energy stored inside high-voltage batteries. The greatest benefit of electric cars is that they are more advanced, more efficient, and way less harmful to the environment which coincides with a better and healthier future of transportation.
Although electric cars have many benefits, they are still new and you need to make several compromises in order to use one as your daily driver. First of all, an electric car takes as much as 10 hours to charge through a regular home plug, but the charging times can be as low as 20-30 minutes through a Level 3 fast charger.
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Why should you choose one over the other?
We first need to compare them with daily commuting in mind, and in this instance, there is little between the two. A hybrid can run in electric mode only and it can also rely on the combustion engine if necessary. On the other hand, an EV solely relies on electricity which is a good thing and a bad thing.
The benefit of an EV is the fact that they emit almost no harmful emissions when compared to a hybrid, but this means that you don’t have any alternatives to electricity. As far as long-distance cruising is concerned, a hybrid with a larger combustion engine is best, in other cases, an EV is better.
Maintenance and reliability-wise, EVs are better because they are actually simpler in design. This means that there are fewer things that can go wrong. Furthermore, you don’t need to spend any money on fuel when owning an EV, but you do need to wait for longer when charging an EV.
Another good reason why to opt for either a hybrid or an EV is that you can rely on several government incentives and tax cuts. Although these do differ between different countries, you are more likely to get more if you opt for an EV.
Are electric engines more reliable than combustion engines?
Electric engines offer fewer moving parts, as such, they don’t need as much maintenance as traditional combustion engines do. This means that there is less of a chance for something to break. Furthermore, they don’t use any motor oil which means that you will not have to spend money on oil.
If you follow all the regular maintenance, an electric engine should last you for many years. However, the biggest problem with EVs is the battery.
How long do hybrid/EV batteries last?
If we take a look at most battery warranties offered by mainstream EV manufacturers you should be covered for at least 7 to 8 years. However, this can sometimes only mean that the battery should not fall below 70% of its original capacity.
Miles-wise, you are looking at around 80k-150k miles per battery before it starts to degrade substantially.
Are electric cars the future?
According to the majority of current estimates, electric cars are indeed the future of consumer transportation. However, it’s hard to predict when will the world transition towards EVs completely. It is safe to say that the infrastructure and technology are still lacking behind combustion engines.
As of right now, you can use an electric car if you are able to use it for what it’s made for. If you can, a hybrid might be a perfect stepping stone before an eventual EV transition.