Hybrid vehicle technology has advanced over the last few years, making them more common on the market. Many people are still on the fence as to whether a hybrid is a better choice than a conventional car, though. The best way to decide if a hybrid is right for you is to weigh the pros and cons.
At Mel Rapton Honda, our team is ready to help you decide whether a hybrid or conventional car will best fit your lifestyle. With a variety of Honda hybrids to choose from, there is certainly something to catch your eye.
What is a Hybrid?
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) are vehicles that have both a fuel combustion engine and an electric motor. The electric motor is powered by batteries.
There are two main categories of hybrid vehicles:
Parallel: Both the engine and the motor can power the wheels.
Series: Only the motor can power the wheels, but a generator transfers power from the engine to the motor.
Within each category are different types of hybrids. Each type uses the combination engine and motor in a slightly different way. Hybrid types are:
Micro Hybrid (Parallel): Also known as auto start/stop, a micro hybrid only uses its electric motor to turn the engine on and off. When the vehicle comes to a complete stop, the engine turns off, and when the accelerator is pressed, the engine seamlessly turns back on.
Mild Hybrid (Parallel): Similar to a micro hybrid, a mild hybrid can also give a boost of power to the engine while driving.
Full Hybrid (Parallel): A full hybrid has the largest batteries of all parallel hybrids. It can use power from the engine and the motor independently or together. This is also a full hybrid to drive with only its electric motor for short distances at slower speeds.
Plug-In Hybrid (Series): A plug-in hybrid is the most powerful of all hybrid types. It has the largest battery, which can be charged from brake regeneration, external sources, and from the combustion engine. A plug-in hybrid has the greatest electric-only driving range.
All kinds of hybrids use regenerative braking to recharge their batteries. Unlike conventional brakes, which use pressure to slow the wheels, the regenerative braking system uses the motor to slow the vehicle down. The energy emitted is captured and returned to the battery to charge it.
Pros and Cons of Hybrids
There are many pros and cons that people will use to support or oppose buying a hybrid vehicle. The most common arguments are:
Fuel Efficiency (PRO): The larger the batteries in the hybrid are, the more the vehicle can run without using gas or diesel. This makes hybrid vehicles more fuel-efficient than their conventional counterparts. The less fuel you use, the more money you save.
Less Maintenance (PRO): Since hybrids use a different brake system and type of battery, there is less maintenance needed to keep them running properly. Regenerative braking instead of brake pads means less money is spent on replacing them.
Eco-Friendly (PRO): When fossil fuels such as gas or diesel are burned, byproducts known as emissions are released. A vehicle’s emissions contain particulate matter, volatile organic compounds, and greenhouse gases, all of which are bad for humans, animals, and the environment.
Hybrid vehicles burn less fossil fuel, which reduces the amount of emissions they release.
More Expensive (CON): The cost of hybrids varies by type, with micro hybrids being the least expensive and plug-in hybrids being the most expensive. The initial cost of a hybrid is always higher than a conventional vehicle.
More Expensive Maintenance (CON): The batteries in hybrids are meant to last for the lifetime of the vehicle. If the batteries do fail, the cost of replacing them is very high.
Making the Decision
As technology continues to advance, more and more vehicle models are available as a hybrid. Honda has a lineup of four vehicle models available as a hybrid:
Clarity (series or parallel hybrid)
The hefty price tag can sway many people away from buying a hybrid. If you are trying to decide whether it is worth it or not, do some calculations to figure out how much money you will save in the long run.
Determine how much you drive on the highway versus in town and see what the gas mileage is of your preferred model. Calculate how many gallons it would take to drive your regular route and multiply that by the local gas price. The amount will be lower than what you are currently spending.
Besides looking at the numbers, taking a hybrid for a test drive can give you a better idea. If you do not like how it feels or handles, then the decision is much easier to make.
Here at Mel Rapton Honda, we have a large inventory of hybrid and conventional vehicles. Take a look at our inventory online, then let us know which you want to try out.