In recent years, we are witnessing somewhat of a revolution. Huge V12 and V10 engines are being replaced with smaller displacement and turbocharging, and the internal combustion engine as a whole is potentially on its way out.
The car industry is slowly moving towards electricity, and some brands like Audi are planning to completely cease the development of newer internal combustion engines. But as of right now, the charging infrastructure is still in its infancy, and the convenience can’t be compared to gasoline-powered cars.
And in such a transition, opting for a hybrid might be a good idea. After all, a hybrid is a transition between a regular internal combustion engine a full-on electric car. But hybrids are not perfect, they are expensive, complex, and costly to ensure.
Moreover, they still produce lots of fossil fuel emissions and the maintenance costs are higher when compared to an EV or an internal combustion engine car. Batteries are not being recycled and hybrids are heavy and not all that fun to drive dynamically.
Hybrid vehicle purchasing costs
Hybrids are not as popular as some manufacturers expected them to be. As such, it’s not all that financially beneficial to develop such a car. If you want to make a profit, you got to raise the entry price because the development costs are high.
Even though something like a V8 engine costs the most amount of money to develop these days, people love V8s, and enough people will buy a V8 for them to be financially feasible for development. However, you are going to amortize the costs of a hybrid through government incentives, but not by much.
Levels of complexity
Hybrids essentially offer at least two engines, which makes them a lot more complex compared to a regular ICE car. When a manufacturer wants to maximize efficiency, they will usually pair a smaller gasoline engine with an electric engine.
But the gasoline engine is also usually turbocharged or supercharged, or even both sometimes. For example, Volvo offers a gasoline engine that is turbocharged, supercharged, and assisted with an electric engine. And such complexity is bound to break, and when it does, it’s going to cost you.
Hybrids insurance costs
With such high levels of complexity, insurance rates are also going up. Hybrids tend to be more expensive to insure for two reasons primarily. They are more expensive to develop, service and maintain. Furthermore, people buy hybrids to cover lots of miles, and most mechanics out there might not be skilled enough to work on a hybrid.
It takes more time to service a hybrid engine and the parts availability is significantly worse when compared to a regular ICE car. This segment is still too young and not all that popular, and it’s unlikely that this is going to change all that soon.
Environmental effects of hybrid cars
In theory, hybrids are clean if you are only using your combustion engine on certain occasions when you need more power or you run out of juice. But in practice, people tend to use their combustion engines all the time. Hybrids are indeed better for the environment, but only if you use them as such.
And the fact is that most people do not. Hybrids are not all that powerful in most cases, and if you want to maximize your car’s performance, you are likely going to use the combustion engine all the time.
Hybrid cars maintenance costs
In theory, hybrid cars need less maintenance as the levels of stress these cars endure are usually not as intense. But, from time to time, maintenance is necessary for you to keep your car in proper condition, and such maintenance does cost more.
Especially so if you have to replace a battery as batteries can cost upwards of $2000. That being said, most manufacturers tend to warranty their batteries for up to 10 years or 150k miles. But after that, it’s up to you to maintain it.
Hybrids are heavy
In recent years, cars have become extremely heavy. A decade or two ago, a two-ton sedan was not all that common, but nowadays it is. Such a heavy car impacts lots of things such as general drivability and safety.
It takes more time for such cars to come to a stop or to accelerate to highways speeds, all of which impact the flow of traffic. And in an event of an accident, such cars are capable of producing immense destruction.
Hybrids are not dynamic
The Porsche 918, McLaren P1, and the Ferrari LaFerrari are hybrids and are some of the most dynamic cars of the modern era. But most hybrids are the complete opposite, they are too heavy and too big to feel entertaining to drive.
They lack agility and the entire powertrain tends to be lazy and non-linear. They also sometimes feel way too robotized and synthetic which further downgrades the fun.
Is it worth buying a hybrid?
If you truly take advantage of the electric engine, and you don’t mind the extra costs, then it is. Moreover, if you are planning to transition towards an EV soon, a hybrid is definitely worth considering.
As the world keeps on changing, hybrids are becoming more frequent and more refined. As such, these cars well worth buying.
Are hybrid cars less reliable?
Yes, they are, but not by much. A study of 55k vehicles concluded that hybrids cars are indeed less reliable than their petrol and diesel counterparts. But only about 15% of hybrid cars suffered an issue, which is not much.
That being said, hybrids are improving rapidly, and in a few years, we are likely going to have hybrids that are as reliable as their gas and diesel counterparts.
Do hybrids last longer?
According to some outlets, hybrid cars tend to last longer than their gas and diesel-powered counterparts. The reason being is that warranties tend to cover the batteries for up to 10 years or 150k miles on average.
And if you do take good care of your hybrid, it should last you a long time. As of right now, Toyota is the brand whose batteries tend to last the longest, which is no surprise considering that Toyota is the most reliable car brand on the market for a while now.