Electric Car VS Hybrid — Which One’s The Better Choice For You?

Demand for environmentally-friendly cars has never been higher than it currently is. However, the desire for cars like these is nowhere close to its peak. Sales charts of both Hybrids and Electric Vehicles are seeing constant growth and millions of them are being sold every year. That brings us to the biggest question of them all.

If you’re trying to go green, what should you pick? Should you pick a pure EV, a PHEV, or a strong hybrid? What sets these three types of environment-friendly vehicles apart? We’ve got answers for you. Read on to know more.

Mechanism — How Exactly Do They Work?

Hybrid

In its most basic sense, a hybrid combines a petrol engine & an electric motor for propulsion. There are several hybrid powertrain systems. A conventional strong hybrid drives its wheels through the electric motor at low speeds and the petrol engine at higher speeds. A small battery pack is present to drive the motor at lower speeds and when the battery runs low, the petrol engine starts up and charges it.

PHEV Drivetrain

The next type of hybrid is a PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle). This behaves exactly like a strong hybrid and the only difference is that the battery is slightly larger in capacity and a PHEV also has a charging port through which users can charge the battery directly from an electric power socket without the involvement of the petrol engine. 

Some PHEVs like the upcoming 2024 Range Rover have an electric-only range of around 82 kilometres. A few manufacturers have produced hybrids in which only the electric motor and battery drive the wheels. When the battery runs low, a small petrol engine starts up and charges the battery completely, and then shuts off again. 

EV Drivetrain

Electric Vehicle

An electric motor is probably the simplest form of the car in existence today. It uses a large lithium-ion battery pack to power its electric motor/s. Entry-level EVs are equipped with one motor to drive either the front or rear axle. Premium EVs feature two electric motors — one for each axle. Electric supercars and hypercars feature four motors — one for each wheel.

Range Or Range Anxiety?

Hybrid

As a result of its working mechanism, a hybrid’s range is determined by the capacity of its fuel tank. The realistic range of strong hybrids is between 1,000km & 1,500km on a single tank of fuel. As a result of the longer range and the ability to refuel quickly, there is no chance for range anxiety to creep in.

Electric Vehicle

The realistic range of an EV is dependent on the capacity of its battery pack. A smaller capacity battery results in a shorter range and it is quite the opposite with a larger battery capacity. Entry-level EVs today have a range of around 200 kilometres while the more premium EVs like the Tesla Model S have a range of just under 800 kilometres. As a result of the comparatively shorter range at hand, and the long charging periods, there is a higher chance of range anxiety with a pure electric vehicle.

Charging

Hybrid

As aforementioned, all forms of hybrids use the petrol engine to charge the battery pack. Only PHEVs have the option of plugging the car into a socket to charge the battery. However, even if the user doesn’t have the time to plug the car in, the engine is more than capable of charging the battery up. As a result, there is little to no waiting time while charging up a hybrid.

Electric Vehicle

Electric vehicles can only be charged by plugging them into a socket. They also have larger battery packs, and as a result, it takes a long time to charge them up. Many manufacturers have made major strides in the development of fast-charging technology. For example, the Porsche Taycan can be charged from 5% to 80% in just 22.5 minutes using a 350kW DC fast charger. 

However, always charging the battery through a DC fast charger reduces the battery life significantly, and hence manufacturers recommend users plug their cars into an AC charger and charge them overnight. One can’t get anywhere in a hurry if standard AC charging is used. Range anxiety is real and there are videos of many users storing a small petrol-powered generator in their car to charge it in case the battery runs dry.

Performance

Hybrid

In a hybrid drivetrain, the electric motor is only used at low speeds, typically applicable to driving in traffic. When hard acceleration and high performance are expected, the petrol engine does the job. This being the case, the performance of a hybrid is decided by its petrol engine. 

In the case of the Toyota Camry with the 2.5-litre hybrid spec, the sedan accelerates from 0-100km/h in around 8.2 seconds. However, supercar hybrids like the McLaren P1 accelerate from 0-100km/h in under 3 seconds while 0-300km/h takes just 17 seconds. The performance of a hybrid drivetrain depends on the size and power output of the petrol engine in it.

McLaren P1 Uses Advanced Hybrid Tech

Electric Vehicle

All electric vehicles accelerate hard! An inherent characteristic of all electric motors is the ability to produce peak torque right from the get-go. This allows electric vehicles to clock really quick acceleration times. Even an entry-level electric car like the Chevrolet Bolt EV can accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 5.6 seconds! High-performance EVs are much quicker. 

The Tesla Model S does the 0-100km/h sprint in just 2.3 seconds while the Rimac Nevera does the same in under 1.8 seconds! Until recently, electric motors were limited in their top speed. However, some recent hypercars have proven otherwise. For instance, Rimac Nevera recently broke 23 world records in a single day, and this included accelerating from 0 to 400km/h and braking to 0 in under 30 seconds.

Rimac Nevera Is The Fastest Accelerating Car In The World

Refinement

Hybrid

Hybrids combine a petrol engine and an electric motor. As a result, the vibrations and noise from the petrol engine are bound to creep into the cabin. Some premium hybrids do mitigate this to an extent through the usage of dampening materials. However, they are inherently, comparatively less refined.

Electric Vehicle

An EV is naturally more refined than a hybrid. The reason is quite simple. An electric motor does not produce any sound, nor does it vibrate a lot because there is quite literally one moving part inside it. As a result, refinement levels are significantly higher in an electric vehicle.

Prices

Hybrid

Hybrids have a lower sticker price than a comparable EV. The battery used in a hybrid is significantly smaller in capacity and it requires lesser resources to manufacture, as a result, costs are minimal. The Toyota Camry for example is one of the most popular hybrids around and it is priced at around AED 99,000.

Electric Vehicle

The battery pack in an EV is significantly bigger and requires more resources. In addition, several EVs also use the battery pack as a stressed member of the chassis and this requires the battery pack to be very strong indeed. All of this leads to a higher sticker price on all electric vehicles. The Nissan Leaf, for example, is one of the least expensive EVs in the UAE and is priced at around AED 135,000.

Maintenance Costs

Hybrid

The combination of an electric drivetrain with a conventional petrol drivetrain ultimately leads to a significantly higher number of moving parts. This also leads to more complications in the system and therefore, more maintenance. Hence, maintenance costs are higher. In case of a crash, the cost of repairs is comparable to a conventional petrol-powered car.

Electric Vehicle

EVs use only an electric motor or multiple electric motors. The number of moving parts is significantly reduced, therefore the cost of maintenance is much lower. However, when it comes to a car crash, most small crashes would lead the vehicle to be a complete write-off as there are chances for the battery pack to be punctured and therefore risk an electric fire.

Conclusion

Both hybrids and EVs do their bit in making the environment better. Whether one should opt for an electric vehicle or a hybrid is something that should purely depend on the use case. If the car would only be used for commutes and the short dash out of the city, the range offered by most EVs is good enough. On the other hand, if range and lower purchase cost are your prerequisites, a hybrid makes more sense.

If an EV ticks all your boxes, you can choose from the best EVs in the UAE by checking out new electric cars for sale in the UAE & used electric cars for sale in the UAE.

Also Read:

All You Need To Know About The Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Top 10 SUVs To Buy In The UAE

All You Need To Know About The Lexus LX

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