Hybrid cars are often touted as an excellent solution that combines the benefits of ICE cars and electric vehicles. Unfortunately, what we hear about these cars are mostly the good stuff. Rarely do we ever hear about the problem with hybrid cars.
Hybrid cars bring us the best of both world – the pros of both combustion engine cars and electric vehicles. That also means they combine the disadvantages of both. Hybrids still require regular maintenance like oil changes and new spark plugs. The two distinct technologies onboard make hybrids incredibly more complex and costlier to maintain and repair.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the problem with hybrid cars, and with it, you’ll understand why hybrids aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be.
What Are the Disadvantages of Hybrid Vehicles?
Hybrid cars offer drivers the best of both worlds, combining the benefits of a combustion engine and electric motor. You will hear the champions of hybrids and automotive marketers trumpeting the benefits of hybrid cars, but less is heard about the disadvantages.
Here's some food for thought:
Yes, this type of vehicle offers you the benefits of both worlds. However, the problem with hybrid cars is that they are exposed to the drawbacks of both worlds as well.
So, let’s take a closer look at what disadvantages come with a hybrid car.
Hybrids Still Require Regular Maintenance
Hybrid vehicles carry a regular combustion engine, which means that they require all the same maintenance that any other conventional car would need. That includes oil changes, new spark plugs, belts, lubricants, and so on.
Yes, a hybrid car relies on the combustion engine a lot less than a conventional car. However, oil changes and other maintenance tasks aren’t solely dictated by mileage but also by time, so you’ll still need to get those tasks done every few months.
Hybrids Have Higher Initial Cost
It’s a no-brainer that hybrid cars cost more than combustion engine vehicles. Unfortunately, even with all the rebates and grants, the price tag for a hybrid car is still out of reach for a large portion of car buyers.
For as long as combustion engine vehicles are the more affordable option, whether brand new or second-hand, most people will still be more inclined to lean away from hybrid vehicles.
Hybrid Cars Have Complex Systems and Technologies
It’s no surprise that hybrid cars feature some pretty complex systems and technologies to make them work. That’s especially true because the car must be able to switch back and forth between the combustion engine and electric propulsion on the fly.
But what does that mean? Here's a perfect example: Hybrid cars have complex gear mechanisms for switching power from its combustion engine to the electric motors, and vice versa.
And remember that those gear mechanisms must switch over without a hiccup so that everything happens safely, especially since we’re talking about switching the power source of a moving car.
Having complex tech onboard has plenty of implications. For one, hybrids must only be repaired by a mechanic who is qualified and specialised to work on hybrids. It wouldn’t be a good idea to take it to your neighbourhood’s general auto workshop.
Let’s not forget that it’s not just about those complex gear mechanisms in a hybrid car. There’s also a central computer, electric motors, and plenty more wiring than a conventional car. Only a qualified technician would navigate all of that and troubleshoot any issues the vehicle might have.
Hybrid Vehicles Are Less Efficient on Open Roads
There’s no shortage of marketing hype talking about the efficiency of hybrid cars. However, they tend to leave out one thing: While hybrid cars are incredibly efficient on city roads, they’re less so on open roads and highways.
Why? Because hybrid cars are ideally suited for start-stop driving that occurs in urban environments. In that context, yes, hybrid cars are a fantastic solution.
However, when driving on open roads with minimal start-stop action, hybrid cars produce the same amount of pollution as conventional vehicles.
Hybrids Have Lower Efficiency in Cold Weather
Hybrid vehicles rely on batteries to function efficiently. The thing about batteries is that they must reach an optimal temperature before they can function correctly. In many cases, that’s not a problem, unless you live in a place with cold weather.
Suppose that you live somewhere that’s really cold. If that’s the case, then your hybrid car will have to rely on the combustion engine for much longer before the batteries reach their optimal temperature.
As a result, the car consumes much more fuel and negates the efficiency of driving a hybrid vehicle.
The Average Insurance Rates for Hybrids Are Higher
Now, let’s talk about auto insurance. The most straightforward way to look at auto insurance is this: The more it might cost the insurance company to fix your car, the higher insurance premiums they’ll charge you.
So far, we've seen that hybrid vehicles have complex systems and tech, which will undoubtedly cost more to fix or replace than combustion engine vehicles. Plus, as mentioned earlier, you'll need mechanics and technicians with specialised skills to work on hybrid cars.
What does this mean for you? Combining all of those factors means that insurance companies will charge higher premiums to protect hybrid cars.
On top of that, people who buy hybrid vehicles tend to be from urban areas where road risks are worse than rural areas anyway. So that’s another indirect factor that contributes to higher auto insurance premiums for hybrid car owners.
Should You Still Buy a Hybrid Car?
Should you still buy a hybrid car? Well, in my personal opinion, no, you should not buy a hybrid vehicle.
A hybrid car is a headache to own because it’s trying to be two things at once: a combustion engine car and an electric vehicle. As with anything in life, trying to play both sides just complicates things and makes hybrid cars a pain to own and maintain.
Instead, you’d be better off committing to one side or the other, whichever one you prefer.
Let’s say you prefer good, “old-fashioned” conventional cars. Well, then spend your hard-earned money on an affordable combustion engine vehicle. Then, you can use any leftover money you have to customise that car to your heart’s content.
Or, let’s say you want to embrace the new wave of electric automobiles while being more environmentally friendly. Then, by all means, buy an all-electric vehicle. Yes, they cost more, but EVs will give you all the benefits that will make you happy: no harmful emissions and no combustion engine to worry about.
Plus, if you genuinely love Mother Nature, you’ll be doing her a REAL favour with an EV instead of a hybrid.
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By Ray Hasbollah