Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply:
Mike asks: Are hybrid cars worse than electric cars?
My reply: I think they are much better than electric cars. Since they carry around their own generator (the gas engine) they are not gimped by short range and long recharge times. They can be taken on long trips, just like any other car. And because they have a gas engine, use of accessories such as the heater does not reduce the range (as it does an electric car’s).
In addition, the battery pack will probably last longer because it’s not worked as hard. It is only partly responsible for moving the car (the gas engine picks up the slack) while in an electric car, the only source of power is the battery pack. Also, if the battery pack in a hybrid weakens or even fails, the car is still usable. It will not be as efficient or as quick, but it will still be drivable. An electric car with a bad battery is lawn ornament.
Finally, hybrids make more economic sense. While they do cost more than an otherwise similar conventional (non-hybrid) car, they cost much less than an electric car. You will probably not save much money overall by driving a hybrid (the higher initial cost eats away the fuel savings) but at least you won’t lose thousands – even tens of thousands – as you would with an electric car.
Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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