Hybrid cars have been around for some time, but it is only relatively recently that they have become a mainstream option – therefore many drivers may still have questions about how they work, and how much they cost to buy and run. We answer some of the most common enquiries below.
A hybrid car is a vehicle that uses two power sources to run – a conventional petrol or diesel engine and a battery-powered electric motor.
A plug-in hybrid car includes a battery for the electric motor that can be charged via an outlet, as well as being charged through recycled energy. They can also run as a conventional non-plug-in hybrid when the battery is empty. The only plug in hybrid model currently available is the Toyota Prius Plug In Hybrid.
The batteries in most hybrid cars are designed to last the lifetime of the vehicle. The car will show signs if the battery does need to be changed, such as the engine running almost constantly, including during light acceleration. Fuel economy may also drop significantly. You can replace a hybrid car’s battery beyond warranty at an extra cost. The price will vary depending on the make and model.
This won’t happen, as the hybrid system has been designed to top up the battery when the energy becomes low.
No. Hybrid cars can run in full electric mode, but they are not designed to operate with no fuel in the tank. Driving with no fuel can severely damage the system.
The costs are around the same as a conventional car when you choose an approved service centre. In fact, as less strain is placed on the engine, you may find that it is cheaper to maintain your hybrid as parts may not need to be replaced as often.
Every effort has been made to make hybrid cars as safe as possible. For example, they include circuit breakers to cut the electrical current if the system has been damaged in an accident. They also feature all the same active and passive safety systems as combustion cars, including ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), and Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
Hybrid cars do have a higher price tag than non-hybrid equivalents, but it is important to consider the lower running costs of these vehicles. Less tax and fuel expenses can make them more affordable in the long run.
Studies have shown that it is completely safe to drive a hybrid car if you have a pacemaker.