Advantages and Disadvantages of a Hybrid Car


What is a Hybrid Car?

Hybrid cars are becoming more popular and more common. A hybrid vehicle uses two or more engines, i.e., an electric motor and a conventional engine (either petrol or diesel). The electric engine powers the car at lower speeds, and the gas engine powers it at higher speeds. A hybrid car like Toyota Prius and Civic Hybrid conserves fuel and produces less CO2 emissions. 

Though hybrid vehicles are now growing in popularity, few people are actually using them, mainly due to a lack of knowledge of how they work and whether they’re as good as other gasoline-powered vehicles.

While the technology has existed since the early 1900s, it has only been in the past decade that the price of manufacturing them has brought them into the range of possibility for the average driver. 

More government incentive programs use credits and special discounts to support the purchase and use of hybrid vehicles. Many cities are switching their public transportation and service vehicles over to hybrid cars and buses as a part of the program to become more environmentally responsible.

Wikipedia defines a hybrid vehicle as,

“A hybrid vehicle uses two or more distinct types of power, such as internal combustion engine+electric motor, e.g., in diesel-electric trains using diesel engines and electricity from overhead lines, and submarines that use diesel when surfaced and batteries when submerged. Other means to store energy include pressurized fluid, in hydraulic hybrids.”

How Hybrid-Electric Vehicles Work?

Hybrid-Electric Vehicles (HEVs) combine the advantage of both the internal combustion engine or gasoline engines and electric motors that use energy stored in batteries. The key performance areas are regenerative braking, dual power sources, and less idling.

Regenerate braking

A hybrid electric vehicle cannot be plugged in for the battery to charge. The battery is charged with the help of regenerative braking and by the internal combustion engine. It helps transform kinetic energy the moving car produces into electrical power stored in the batteries.

The electric motor powers the vehicle as well as resists its motion. When you apply brakes to slow down, this resistance slows down the wheel and simultaneously recharges the batteries.

Dual power

Depending on driving circumstances, power can come from the engine, motor, or both. The electric motor is in use at low speeds. When you pick up the pace, your combustion engine kicks in. Afterward, the electric battery recharges itself using the combustion engine. The electric motor also provides additional power to assist the engine in accelerating or climbing. 

Automatic start/shutoff

When the vehicle stops, it automatically shuts off the engine and restarts it when the accelerator is pressed down. This automation is much simpler with an electric motor. 

The additional power provided by the electric motor can potentially allow for a smaller engine. The battery powers auxiliary loads and reduces engine idling when it stops. These features altogether result in better fuel economy without hampering performance.

While most people associate hybrid vehicles with the kind that uses electricity as their primary alternate fuel, there are more options available now. Some cars use hybrid technologies with propane and natural gas as well.

A hybrid car is best defined as a vehicle with an engine that can switch between fossil fuel and an alternate fuel source. On the other hand, electric cars use rechargeable batteries with their advantages and disadvantages.


Advantages of a Hybrid Car

Here are a few of the top advantages of having a hybrid car:-

1. Environmentally Friendly

One of the most significant advantages of a hybrid car over a gasoline-powered car is that it runs cleaner and has better gas mileage, making it environmentally friendly. A hybrid vehicle runs on twin powered engine (gasoline engine and electric motor) that cuts fuel consumption and conserves energy.

2. Financial Benefits

Hybrid cars are supported by many credits and incentives that help to make them affordable. Lower annual tax bills and exemption from congestion charges come from less money spent on fuel.

3. Less Dependence on Fossil Fuels

A Hybrid car is much cleaner and requires less fuel to run, which means fewer emissions and less dependence on fossil fuels. This, in turn, also helps to reduce the price of gasoline in the domestic market. 

4. Regenerative Braking System

When you apply the brake while driving a hybrid vehicle, it helps you recharge your battery a little. An internal mechanism kicks in that captures the energy released and uses it to charge the battery, which in turn eliminates the amount of time and need for stopping to recharge the battery periodically.

5. Built From Light Materials

Hybrid vehicles are made of lighter materials, meaning less energy is required to run. The engine is also smaller and lighter, which also saves much energy.

6. Assistance From Electric Motor

The electric motor assists the internal combustion engine in case of accelerating, passing, or climbing a hill.

7. Smaller Engines

The gasoline engines in hybrid cars are usually small, light, and highly efficient as they don’t have to power the vehicle alone.

8. Automatic Start and Stop

In hybrid cars, the engine is automatically shut off when the vehicle is idle and starts when the accelerator is pressed. Compared to traditional hybrid vehicles, PHEVs can drive longer distances at higher speeds. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have lower energy emissions because they emit only water vapor and warm air.

9. Electric-Only Drive

Hybrid vehicles can be driven entirely with electricity. This usually happens while moving at low speeds, when the engine is idling at a stoplight, or when the engine starts up. Usually, the internal combustion engine starts operating only at higher rates, where it has more efficiency. This helps increase the overall fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

10. Higher Resale Value

With a continuous gasoline price increase, more and more people are turning towards hybrid cars. The result is that these green vehicles have started commanding higher than average resale values. So, if you are unsatisfied with your vehicle, you can always sell it at a premium price to buyers looking for it.

There are many advantages to owning a hybrid car. The one you will like the best is how it helps you control your budget as gas prices increase. The other benefit that is not seen directly is how owning and driving a hybrid car impacts the environment. It reduces the dependence on fossil fuels and lowers your carbon imprint on the environment.

Disadvantages of a Hybrid Car

There are disadvantages to owning a hybrid car, but they are probably not what you think. Contrary to the popular myth, hybrid cars have just as much power as regular cars and have no issue with mountain driving or towing. The disadvantages will depend on the type of mixed fuel that your vehicle uses.

Here are a few of the disadvantages of a hybrid car: –

1. Less Power

Hybrid cars are twin-powered engines. The gasoline engine, which is the primary power source, is much smaller than what you get in single-engine powered cars, while the electric motor is of low energy. The combined power of both is often less than that of a gas-powered engine. It is therefore suited for city driving and not for speed and acceleration.

2. It Can be Expensive

The biggest drawback of having a hybrid car is that it can burn a hole in your pocket. Hybrid vehicles are comparatively more expensive than a regular petrol car and can cost $5000 to $10000 more than a standard version. However, lower running costs and tax exemptions can offset that extra amount. 

3. Poorer Handling

A hybrid car houses a gasoline-powered engine, a lighter electric engine, and a pack of powerful batteries. This adds weight and eats up the extra space in the car. Additional weight results in fuel inefficiency, and manufacturers cut down weight, which has resulted in motor and battery downsizing and less support in the suspension and body.

4. Higher Maintenance Costs

A dual engine and continuous technological improvement make it difficult for mechanics to repair the car, and maintenance cost is much higher. It is also challenging to find a mechanic with such expertise.

5. Accident from High Voltage in Batteries

In case of an accident, the high voltage present inside the batteries can prove lethal for you. There is a high chance of you getting electrocuted in such cases, which can also make the task difficult for rescuers to get other passengers and drivers out of the car.

6. Battery Replacement is Pricey

According to Green Car Reports, hybrid vehicles\’ battery replacement is rare. However, if a battery needs to be replaced, it can get pricey.

7. Battery Disposal and Recycling

The batteries at the end of their proper life cycle can be recycled to harvest usable materials for repurposing. This removes waste from the environment. But, the main issue with recycling lies in the collection rate of vehicle batteries. 

The same problem lies in recycling lithium batteries in mobile electronics. Although lithium is 100% recyclable, extracting it costs too much to make it of high economic value. It is only done because of federal mandates and/or ecological purposes.

8. Hydrogen Fuel Cell Issues

The source of hydrogen can be both “clean” sources such as solar or wind power or dirty sources like coal and natural gas. Sourcing from coal and natural gas undermines the ecological motive for using hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Hydrogen production is also expensive, and the fuel cells must be refueled at a hydrogen station. At present, these stations are only located in California and near Toronto.

Making Your Decision

Deciding whether or not a hybrid car is right for you involves more than just a desire to be environmentally friendly. You have to look at the resources in your area that can help you maintain and sustain the car. 

Depending on the type of car you purchase, you may need mechanics familiar with it or an alternate fuel source. You should also look into any credits or discounts that may be available to help you lower the car\’s purchase cost.

Changing Your Driving Habits

Even if you purchase a hybrid car, there is more you can do to lessen your effect on the environment. One of the most important considerations is how you drive. You can replace many car trips using public transportation, carpooling, or even riding a bicycle.

Also, planning to use the car more effectively can reduce the number of trips you make each week. Hybrid or not, the less you drive, the better it is for the environment. You should also consider offering to be the carpool driver more if you are the one with the hybrid; this can also help conserve energy and lessen pollution.

How Do Hybrid Electric Cars Work?

Hybrid electric vehicles are
powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, which uses
energy stored in batteries. A hybrid electric car cannot be plugged in
to charge the battery. Instead, the battery is charged through regenerative
braking and the internal combustion engine. The extra power provided by the
electric motor can potentially allow for a smaller engine. The battery can also
power auxiliary loads and reduce engine idling when stopped. Together, these
features result in better fuel economy without sacrificing performance.


Critical Components of a Hybrid
Electric Car

Battery (auxiliary): In an
electric drive vehicle, the low-voltage auxiliary battery provides electricity
to start the car before the traction battery is engaged; it also powers vehicle

DC/DC converter: This device
converts higher-voltage DC power from the traction battery pack to the
lower-voltage DC power needed to run vehicle accessories and recharge the
auxiliary battery.

Electric generator: Generates
electricity from the rotating wheels while braking, transferring that energy
back to the traction battery pack. Some vehicles use motor generators that
perform both the drive and regeneration functions.

Electric traction motor: Using
power from the traction battery pack, this motor drives the vehicle\’s wheels.
Some vehicles use motor generators that perform both the drive and regeneration

Exhaust system: The exhaust
system channels the exhaust gases from the engine through the tailpipe. A
three-way catalyst is designed to reduce engine-out emissions within the
exhaust system.

Fuel filler: A nozzle from a
fuel dispenser attaches to the receptacle on the vehicle to fill the tank.

Fuel tank (gasoline): This
tank stores gasoline on board the vehicle until it\’s needed by the engine.

Internal combustion engine
 In this configuration, fuel is injected into either the
intake manifold or the combustion chamber, where it is combined with air, and
the air/fuel mixture is ignited by the spark from a spark plug.

Power electronics controller: This
unit manages the flow of electrical energy delivered by the traction battery,
controlling the speed of the electric traction motor and the torque it

Thermal system (cooling): This
system maintains an acceptable operating temperature range of the engine, electric
motor, power electronics, and other components.

Traction battery pack: Stores
electricity for use by the electric traction motor.

Transmission: The
transmission transfers mechanical power from the engine and/or electric
traction motor to drive the wheels.


vs. Electric vs. Plug-In: What Are They & How Are They Different?

What is a hybrid car?

A vehicle is a hybrid if it is
100% gasoline-fueled but doesn\’t rely solely on its gasoline engine for
propulsion. Hybrids also have electric motors that sometimes power the car to delay the use of the gasoline engine and save fuel. At times, both
systems work together for added power. How do hybrid cars work? Their electric
motors function as generators when you press the brake, and the energy regenerated during braking is stored in a small battery for immediate use the
next time you accelerate from rest.

Examples of hybrid cars include
the Honda Accord Hybrid, the Lexus RX 450h, and the Toyota

What is a
plug-in hybrid car?

A plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV)
is a gasoline-powered hybrid with a much larger battery, and a means to recharge
it using an external power source. A plug-in hybrid behaves much like an
electric vehicle, with its gasoline engine essentially dormant when its
battery has charged. The machine comes to life when the battery runs down,
allowing the car to continue uninterrupted as a regular gasoline hybrid. It
also uses regenerative braking to save fuel. Note: Some PHEVs are incorrectly
marketed as hybrids. If you can plug it in and also fill it up, it\’s a plug-in

Plug-in hybrid
vehicles include the BMW 530e, the Toyota Prius Prime, and
the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

What is
an electric vehicle?

An electric vehicle (EV) has a large battery and an electric motor that is powerful enough to
deliver adequate range and performance without the need to include an engine or
gas tank at all.

Examples of electric vehicles
include the Ford Mustang Mach-E, the Nissan Leaf, and the Tesla
Model 3.

Hybrid vs. plug-in hybrid — pros
& cons

Hybrids and plug-in hybrids are
often confused in the marketplace. But many people wonder: Which is better, a
hybrid or a plug-in hybrid? It depends on your circumstances. Hybrids can be
driven anywhere because they are 100% gasoline-fueled. There\’s no hassle
because you never plug them in.

Plug-in hybrids can also be
driven anywhere. They typically provide enough all-electric range to help you
avoid using gasoline daily. But you do need to plug them in
regularly for them to make economic or climate-conscious sense — a PHEV costs
more than an equivalent hybrid.

car pros & cons


Fast and easy fill-ups at
any gas station

Most inexpensive type of
electrified vehicle

No need to think about
plugging in

No issues for apartment

Can be your only car


Not as much gas-saving
potential as a plug-in hybrid

A hybrid\’s gas engine tends
to be meek and lacks power

No rated electric range

hybrid pros & cons


Can function as an EV
during a typical weekday commute

Run it out of electricity, and it\’ll keep going

Gasoline engine allows for
road trips

Can be your only car

Federal and state tax
incentives may offset the higher cost


Costs more than a regular

Not enough electric
driving range to entirely avoid gasoline

Need to regularly plug it
in to make sense (but might not need 240-volt equipment)

Space taken up by the
powertrain may compromise space or functionality

vs. electric — pros & cons

Hybrids and electric vehicles
represent opposite ends of the electrification spectrum. Hybrids can go
anywhere and are just as hassle-free as any regular car. They are entirely fueled
by gasoline and derive the electricity they need through brake regeneration and
the harnessing of excess engine power. Fully electric cars, on the other hand,
are entirely powered by batteries that must be recharged regularly. Most EV
owners do the charging at their homes overnight. So EVs are best for homeowners
who can control their own charging destiny. And while it’s not strictly
necessary, EVs are easier to own if you have a second car for long road trips.

Hybrid vehicle pros & cons


No need for charging

Gas propulsion means you
can go anywhere without range anxiety

Can be your only car

Inexpensive to buy


Not as energy-efficient as
an electric car

Need to change oil and
look after the engine

Lacks an EV\’s drive-away
smoothness and silence

Initial acceleration feels
weak by comparison

Electric vehicle pros & cons


Zero tailpipe emissions

Smooth, immediate and
quiet acceleration with no shifting

Little regular upkeep
apart from tires and wipers

Per-mile electricity costs
less than gasoline

No need to stop for gas


Range anxiety is a concern
because it takes time to recharge

You must plug it in and
might need a 240-volt home station

Difficult for renters to
manage to charge

Long trips require finding
fast-charging stations

More expensive to buy


about plug-in hybrid vs. electric cars?

People who want an electric
vehicle often overlook plug-in hybrids. This is a missed opportunity because a
PHEV can represent a best-of-both-world solution. Part of the trouble could be
that some automakers market their PHEVs as regular hybrids. But it also
stems from a recent lack of truly desirable PHEV choices.

That\’s changing with the
introduction of plug-in hybrid versions of some popular small SUVs. These
include the 2021 Ford Escape PHEV, 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime, and 2021 Jeep
Wrangler 4xe. Because of their gas engines, these compelling family-oriented choices allow EV-like operation
during the week and freedom of movement on the weekends.


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