Some might say that a hybrid powertrain is the best powertrain currently on the market because it offers increased efficiency while still retaining a stress-free ICE car ownership experience. However, hybrids are not perfect and there are a few drawbacks you ought to be aware of.
First of all, hybrids cost more money, so much so that it sometimes makes it difficult to recommend a hybrid over a regular ICE car. Furthermore, hybrids are heavy and cumbersome, most of them are not made for enthusiastic driving because efficiency is the main, and quite often, the only goal.
Even so, hybrids are still not all that efficient when it comes to highway driving, which means that the only goal a hybrid has is incomplete. Moreover, hybrids cost more money to insure and the battery technology is not developed to last a significant amount of time.
Be that as it may, a hybrid could still be a good option for those who want an efficient city daily driver. If you can fully take advantage of the hybrid platform, a hybrid might just be a perfect car for you.
High purchasing costs
According to a few reputable sources, a hybrid costs as much as 20% more than a regular ICE car. Besides a higher entry price, there is a limited amount of hybrid models anyway, which means that you might not be able to find a hybrid you love, and still pay as much as 20% more.
These compromises can deter many people from buying hybrids, especially so if you are buying used. No matter how much money you have, spending $20k, $30k, $40k, or more on something that isn’t perfect is quite a substantial compromise to make. On the other hand, there are loads of different ICE car options out there.
Hybrids are complex and delicate, as such, it takes more money to make a hybrid worthy of production. Compared to a regular ICE car, hybrids also come with an electric engine, a battery pack, a beefed-up cooling system, additional wiring, special gear mechanisms, and loads of advanced software development.
All of these additional components cost money, and if you are not able to fully utilize such technology, it is better to skip buying a hybrid altogether.
Performance is usually bad or not good enough
Hybrids are primarily made to be efficient, and that means that the opposite side of that spectrum – performance, is bound to suffer. However, it does not need to be this way because there are many hybrids such as the BMW i8, Honda/Acura NSX, or even the Holy hypercar Trinity which prove that hybrids can be exhilarating.
The core problem with a hybrid platform is added weight because hybrids weigh 300-500 pounds more compared to their fuel-propelled counterparts. Such weight does take a toll on how athletic a car can be, no matter what type of technology tries to mitigate that.
It is also worth mentioning that hybrids sometimes suffer during the winter because batteries are affected by cold weather. This means that the battery is not able to offer peak performance until it reaches a certain temperature.
Hybrids are not made for highways and they cost more to insure
The whole point of a hybrid is to increase fuel efficiency through regenerative braking and clever ICE and electric engine interactions. However, these two can only work at slower stop-and-go traffic, and you will not be doing all that much stopping on a highway.
Furthermore, the combustion engine is going to take a toll when it comes to highway driving because the electric engine is not made to do such a thing. This means that the fuel efficiency is likely going to be comparable to a regular combustion engine car.
Hybrids also cost more to insure because they cost more, and also because they offer a plethora of delicate and expensive hybrid technologies. Moreover, hybrid cars are made for urban city environments which are often associated with higher insurance rates.
Finally, hybrid cars also cost more to repair because of the complex hybrid powertrain, especially if the battery or the hybrid system itself is the part that needs fixing.
Are hybrids reliable?
Generally speaking, hybrids are indeed reliable, especially the ones developed by Toyota or Lexus. It’s worth mentioning that Toyota and Lexus are the ones making the most reliable cars on the market anyway, so this comes as no surprise.
Hybrids cost a lot of money, but they don’t sell that much. Because of this, many manufacturers and developers are teaming up when it comes to new hybrid powertrain development. This means that the powertrain is tested thoroughly and rigorously in order to satisfy extremely high standards imposed by multiple different manufacturers, thus improving reliability.
What are the problems with electric cars?
The first and biggest problem EVs face these days is limited range. Even though some EVs are capable of 300+ miles on a full charge, most of them are not. Besides range, EVs are also limited when it comes to charging speeds and charging infrastructure, so much so that it can sometimes ruin the EV ownership experience.
Moreover, EVs cost a lot of money, way more money than a comparable ICE car and there are only a dozen or two mainstream EVs on the market anyway. They are pretty boring when it comes to performance, even though they are extremely quick.
What are the benefits of hybrid cars?
To be clear, hybrids are not all that bad for specific usage scenarios such as with daily driver city duties. A hybrid relies on regenerative braking which catches lost energy and stores it in the battery for later use. This enables the car to maximize its fuel efficiency and it also acts as a helping hand in rush hour traffic.
The start/stop functionality is almost always way better than in regular cars and you can get loads of financial benefits in certain countries if you buy a hybrid. They are environmentally friendly and they usually offer lots of exciting comfort and technology solutions.