As we progress into the future, hybrid and electric vehicles are becoming more and more of a mainstay in today’s culture. They are eco-friendly with their lack of emissions, they are safe, and they are coming soon. They may have their disadvantages at this point in time, but as technology progresses, we will see an increase in efficiency, and this will entice people to go electric. We already have a plethora of electric only vehicles with Tesla and Nissan, but other brands like Subaru are about to jump on the stage. So, why is it beneficial that we all have electric or hybrid cars in the future, other than saving the world?
- An electric vehicle (EV) is an all-electric car that is powered by a battery. These cars need to be charged and have a range limit due to the battery. Electric vehicles can have ranges from 93-248km depending on brand and battery size.
- A hybrid vehicle uses fuel and a hybrid battery, which charges using kinetic energy while you are in traffic and on the road! Hybrids get great fuel economy ranging from 12.8-21.3k/L.
Range anxiety can play a role in whether you want an electric or hybrid vehicle, but both kinds of cars are paving the way for the future.
- Regenerative Braking: One benefit of hybrid vehicles is the battery science. Traditional hybrid batteries cannot charge off an outlet, so regenerative braking is needed to charge it! Every time your car stops, the car transfers the energy from the torque of the car into kinetic energy, and it is stored into the battery to be used for the hybrid engine! With regenerative braking, the brake pads also last longer, because the engine is helping the car brake and absorbs some of the energy. They will still need replacing, but it is found out that they will last almost twice as long.
- Auto Start and Shut Off: When your hybrid stops, it also shuts off the engine and switches the power to your hybrid battery. This eliminates idling and wasting fuel, increasing your fuel economy!
- Plug-In option: Some hybrids can recharge with both industrial electricity and regenerative breaking, and these use Plug in Electric Hybrid technology. (PHEV) The simplest explanation of the plug-in hybrid is that it is a hybrid vehicle with a larger electric motor and a bigger battery. The battery can be recharged from commercial power by plugging into a 120 or 240-volt charging system, just like a full EV. When that charge is depleted, the PHEV operates as a regular hybrid using engine power and regenerative braking to keep electrons flowing to the battery pack. PHEV’s provide more power and better handling than a traditional hybrid.
- Financial Benefits: A hybrid will still use fossil fuels, but it will save you money in the long run. The increased fuel economy from the battery will up the gas mileage while still delivering some of the power that a traditional combustion engine will have. Typically hybrids cost the same as their combustion-engine counterparts, so if you are looking to help save the environment and cut down on fuel prices, hybrids are the way to go. Recently, the government has offered a tax credit if you buy a Hybrid or Electric Vehicle, which is enticing to a lot of people in the market for a new car.
- Environmentally Sound: A hybrid reduces the carbon footprint of driving. With dual power, it makes the car more efficient and lowers emissions while driving! With this comes less dependence on fossil fuels. Owners will find themselves driving more and using less gas than ever!
- Light: Hybrids are made with lighter materials so they can conserve energy on the road. A lot of modern hybrids are made with recycled materials, and the smaller engine all factor into less weight, providing a smoother and more efficient ride!
- Less Power: Your traditional hybrid contains less power than a combustion engine. However, as we progress into the future, the amount of horsepower being packed into Hybrids and EV’s are growing by the year. Here we have a chart comparing the HP between The Subaru Crosstrek vs. Hybrid, and the All new 2023 Subaru Solterra vs. the 2022 Subaru Ascent.
- Battery Replacement: If your hybrid battery runs out, it used to be pricey to replace. As technology progresses, these batteries are being made to last the whole lifetime of the car plus more. Some taxi hybrids you see can have over 480,000km on it!
- Rechargeable: Electric Vehicles don’t use fossil fuels and instead opt for a charging port that charges your car like you would your cell phone. These chargers are in 3 different classes, ranging from 110-600 volts!
- Quiet: There is no combustion in electric vehicles, so the cars stay extremely quiet on the road. This will overall reduce noise in cities and populated areas!
- Great Range for Commuting: EV’s are perfect for commuting, with the average range being 291 kilometers. A lot of businesses are installing charging ports, so you can charge while you work!
- No Fossil Fuels: Most Electric Vehicles run on electricity using lithium batteries, so there is no need for fossil fuels! Electricity is cents on the dollar compared to gas, so this will save you lots of money in the long run. Spending $1, you can travel almost twice as far with electricity than you can gasoline.
- Lessened Emissions: Electric cars have 0 tailpipe emissions! Since electricity is used to power the car, there is no combustion and no carbon footprint. Despite the car having 0 emissions, the source that charges the battery can create a carbon footprint. For example, in areas that rely on coal for electricity you would be creating a bigger carbon footprint than you would with a gasoline vehicle.
- Wireless Charging: We aren’t too far away from better battery and charging technology, but wireless car charging is right around the corner! Companies are working on the technology now, but it seems like it will be here sooner rather than later. These wireless chargers can range from chargers in the roads, or even pads that you can park on at work or at home. Volkswagen has been working on a model that can charge one of their electric vehicles to 80% in 10 minutes, with 98% efficiency!
- Better Performance: Electric Vehicles are quicker than combustion engines, and the performance will only get better as technology progresses. The gap has closed with speed, as electric cars are just as fast as cars on today’s market, and the noise reduction is a huge plus.
- Federal Tax Credit: There is a substantial tax credit for battery-electric, hydrogen fuel cell and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, depending on the battery capacity. If you lease, the credit goes to the manufacturer. However, dealerships often factor it into the lease, lowering the down payment or monthly payments.
- Not Enough Charging Ports: A major issue that can bottleneck the growth of EV’s is the lack of chargers. People experience range anxiety as a result. According to Forbes, 80% of EV drivers charge their car at home, and this speaks to the lack of public charging ports. These cars need to be charged every few hundred kilometers, so EV’s aren’t the best for long road trips or for those looking for alternatives to charging at home.
- Range Anxiety: Electric Vehicles are practical for commuting, but on long road trips drivers can experience range anxiety. This comes from worrying if your car can make it to the next charging station or destination on its current amount of power. When the anxiety sets in and there are no charging ports, this can easily turn to range panic. This can be fixed by changing the infrastructure to better accommodate EV’s. Countries like the Netherlands have made strides to make charging ports more accessible, and they are one of the best places to drive an EV in Europe.
- Manufacturing Issues: Batteries and computer chips are in high demand, making it much more difficult to obtain these resources to produce new cars. This should hopefully pick back up after the pandemic and as production ramps back up.
- Solterra: The Subaru Solterra is the first Subaru EV with 0 emissions. Its name is derived from the Latin words Sol (sun) and Terra (earth). The Solterra features all your standard Subaru tech such as X-Mode, Eyesight Driver Assist, Blind Spot Detection, and more all with a range of over 320 kilometers. The Solterra also features fast charging, meaning it can reach 80% charge in less than an hour! For those with range anxiety, the car features an app that locates charging stations for you, so you can plan your trip with the charging stops. This SUV aims to be the cornerstone of all Subaru Electric Vehicles in the future.
- Crosstrek Hybrid: The 2021 Crosstrek Hybrid is the perfect blend of EV and Hybrid. With charging capabilities and a combustion engine, the Crosstrek Hybrid delivers the best of both worlds without compromising performance. This hybrid can be ran off of a charge or off of fuel, increasing fuel economy significantly! Unfortunately, the range is only 27 kilometers off the battery charge.
How long have Hybrids and EV’s been Available?
- Automotive hybrid technology became widespread beginning in the late 1990s. The first mass-produced hybrid vehicle was the Toyota Prius, launched in Japan in 1997, and followed by the Honda Insight, launched in 1999 in the United States and Japan.
How Long Do Hybrid/EV Batteries Last?
- According to AutoTrader, Hybrid Batteries can last up to 10-20 years in most situations! As long as the car isn’t parked with a flat battery and unused, the lifespan is greatly increased. If you are concerned about when to replace your battery, it is always smart to check your manufacturers warranty or contact them directly.
Do Hybrids/EV’s Require Additional Maintenance?
- Most hybrid cars do not require any additional regular maintenance on the hybrid-specific components. The gasoline engine in a hybrid vehicle requires the same maintenance that it would if it were the only power source driving the vehicle. That means regular tune-ups and oil changes every 8,000-16,000 kilometers, depending on the vehicle and the driving conditions. One important hybrid benefit is that ordinary vehicles need to have their brake pads changed regularly. But hybrids' regenerative braking systems eliminate much of the wear on the mechanical brakes, so their brake pads typically last much longer.
- According to Yale, Electric Vehicles have a maintenance cost of around 40% less than most combustion engine vehicles. Electric vehicles don’t contain typical elements such as timing belts, oxygen sensors, fuel filters, spark plugs, and other components typically seen on EV’s fossil fuel counterparts. EV’s also don’t use oil, so owners can cut back drastically on the typical cost of maintenance.