First things first! What is a hybrid car? You may have heard the term being thrown around in the media and by those campaigning for a “greener” planet! But like many others, do you feel slightly in the dark about what a hybrid vehicle is? Personally, I think it sounds like some kind of transformer!
In simple terms, a hybrid car is a car that uses two or more engines. For example, in most cases they have an electric motor working alongside the conventional petrol or diesel engine. You may be surprised to hear that the technology behind hybrid/electric cars has been around since the 1900s, but it has only been in recent years that the vehicles themselves have become more affordable and therefore more accessible to the average driver like you and I. In fact, the very first commercially available hybrid car was the Toyota Prius in 1997 over in Japan.
According to new figures, the demand for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the UK is soaring and with the increasing number of car manufactures offering hybrid/electric models along with the increasing number of charging points in the UK, this figure is only set to continue to rise. However, here at Canterbury Motoring World we feel like there is still a real lack of knowledge surrounding hybrid and electric powered vehicles so we have outlined some of the advantages and disadvantages of them.
- They are “environmentally friendly” – hybrids emit less pollution that gas-only vehicles as they are a considerable amount less dependent on fossil fuels. Due to this, going through an emissions test is not a requirement.
- They are very efficient vehicles – due to them being lighter in weight they are much more fuel efficient and beat EPA mileage estimates.
- They come with financial incentives – hybrids are will supported by the government due to their environmentally friendliness, so to encourage more of us to buy them they have put incentives in place such as making hybrid vehicles exempt from congestion charges as well as making the cost of their annual tax a lot lower than that of a normal car.
- Hybrid cars require less servicing and maintenance as there is less “wear and tear” on certain mechanical features.
- They are very quiet – electric engines are practically noiseless.
- The quietness of hybrid cars can also be seen as a negative as the fact they are almost silent is a potential cause of accidents with pedestrians and other motorists.
- Although they are cheaper to run and maintain, the initial cost of a hybrid car is more expensive to buy compared with your standard petrol/diesel car.
- Some have complained that the battery packs that run the electric engine takes up significant space, leaving less cabin/boot space for personal items.
- Although the maintenance and servicing doesn’t have to be carried out as often, when it is required it can only been done at a main dealer by specialist technicians which can be inconvenient and timely.
- These hybrid/electric cars are built for economy, not speed! Due to their lower power output, if you love fast cars these aren’t for you!
- The lightness of the hybrid cars can make them harder to handle when on the road and also mean that they are unlikely to withstand a high impact collision.
In conclusion, although there are a number of disadvantages, here at Canterbury Motoring World we think that the future is looking electric and in years to come more and more of us will be going green and having to remember to charge our cars as well as our phones!
Author: Rebecca McGinty