Interested in purchasing a new car with the latest technology? If you’re considering fuel-efficiency and eco-consciousness, the decision is probably between an electric vehicle or a plug-in hybrid. Knowing which is the best choice for your needs will help you decide. To help you make that decision, we’ve compiled a list of drawbacks and benefits for each option.
What’s the Difference?
Your first step in the decision process should be understanding the difference between an electric vehicle (EV) or a plug-in hybrid. While they both utilize similar technologies, they still have many differences.
Just as their name suggests, plug-in cars are hybrids that can be plugged in. They utilize two powertrains to function: a standard combustion engine and an electric motor for city driving. The latter is convenient for drivers with a longer commute as hybrids offer 30-40 miles of electric range plus an additional 200-300 miles on a gas engine. When the electric motor becomes depleted, the standard engine kicks in.
Electric vehicles don’t use a standard combustion engine, so they aren’t dependant on gasoline. This means there isn’t a backup engine in case the batteries run out of juice. Because of this, they offer a longer range than plug-in hybrids and they are better for the environment than hybrids.
Primarily, hybrids have a good range due to the dual powertrains consisting of electric and gasoline. Around town, hybrids are fuel efficient while using the electric motor. The gasoline engine comes in handy for longer trips hybrid owners may want to take. When it comes to saving money, hybrid drivers will spend less on gas and still be eligible for a tax rebate.
Unfortunately, hybrid vehicles don’t offer much variety. With the influx in popularity among EVs, automakers are not manufacturing many differing models. The Toyota Prius still remains one of the most popular hybrid models with the Chevy Volt a close second for the die-hard American car fans.
Fully Electric Vehicles
With the introduction of EVs, drivers who were initially attracted to hybrids for their eco-friendliness have now shifted. Not only do they prefer the full experience of driving an electric vehicle, many drivers also want to benefit the environment as much as possible. This makes electric vehicles the best choice for consumers who want to reduce their carbon footprint.
Although the sticker price is slightly higher for EVs, drivers save more money than hybrid drivers as EVs don’t require gasoline. The electric-only range is much higher than hybrids as well. With larger batteries due to the absence of a gasoline engine, EVs have more “juice.”
It’s not all positives, of course. The biggest drawback to fully electric vehicles is the limited range with no backup. EVs only have 60-70 miles of total range. Drivers with a longer commute would be wise to consider a hybrid instead. However, if you have $76,000+ to spend on a Tesla Model S, you can enjoy 150 miles of total range, although this is still less than hybrids.
A few other considerations are climate and safety features. For drivers in cold climates, hybrids are recommended. Electric vehicles are best in warm climates as batteries tend to malfunction more in colder conditions. It has also notable that electric vehicles are being manufactured with better safety features.
If you’re still not sure if you should buy a plug-in or fully electric vehicle, schedule a test drive of each. Taking all of these factors into consideration, choose the vehicle that is best for your situation and the one you feel most comfortable in. Happy hunting!