Looking Into Hybrid Cars? What You Need to Know
October 7th, 2010
Hybrid vehicles contain two separate engines in order to conserve the car’s fuel consumption–a traditional, gasoline-powered engine and an electric, battery-operated motor. Both the gasoline and the electric engines work in conjunction with one another to reduce the overall fuel consumption of a vehicle.
Higher Gas Mileage and Lower Fuel Costs
Those who own a hybrid car enjoy using typically half of the fuel consumption of people who drive standard, gasoline vehicles. Most hybrids allow drivers to get at least 60 miles of driving time per gallon of gas. This means hybrid owners will not spend nearly the amount of money as their gasoline-powered car driver counterparts.
Other Advantages of Hybrid Cars
Because the government is trying to push environmental reform, they bestow hybrid car owners with certain benefits not enjoyed by gasoline car owners, such as free car pool lane entry, no cost parking in some areas, and discounts for toll gate fees.
And those who are concerned about the logistics of powering the car’s electric engine should not be. Hybrids actually run slightly different from 100% electric cars in that there is no need to charge the electric engine’s battery from a home electric outlet. Instead, the particular braking system of hybrids allow the battery to charge by capturing the released energy outputted by braking.
Higher Retail Prices
Even with the many advantages afforded by hybrid cars, there are a few downsides to owning one with the biggest disadvantage being their expensive retail price. It takes a little bit more cash to purchase a hybrid car; however, manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to bring the cost down for consumers. But this seemingly costly disadvantage is negated by the fact that the cost of hybrid ownership is usually less expensive than owning a gasoline only car, which means a hybrid’s cheaper running cost will eventually even out the hybrid/gasoline playing field.
Heavier Weight and Lower Speeds
The specialized batteries used in hybrid vehicles are heavier than standard car batteries. Because of these cars’ extra weight, manufacturers install smaller sized internal combustion engines. These engines are specifically built using lightweight materials with aerodynamic properties in order for the car to move as fast as possible, meaning hybrid cards do not have the typical driving speed of their gasoline car rivals.
A Slightly Increased Risk of High Voltage Electrocution
Another hybrid car disadvantage deals with its electric engine and how it can increase injury risks in severe auto accidents. But it is the hybrid’s effective electrical engine that stores a great deal of high voltage power in its battery.
Unfortunately, this means there is a slightly increased risk of high voltage electrocution. And because of this, good samaritans and medical personnel may not be able to reach the driver and his passengers. This is not to say that hybrid cards are unsafe, far from it. The risks of electrocution are so miniscule that almost every hybrid currently available on the market is relatively safe to drive and enjoy.